I’ve noticed a really befuddling discrepancy between what Christians say they believe about death versus how they actually react to death.
Let’s be clear- I’m not saying there isn’t an element of fear in dying. Of course their is, but it is a fear of the unknown, rather than of death itself. For example, Is it painful? How will I go? What will happen to my husband and children?…what happens when I die?
Thank God that in His infinite wisdom, He leaves much of those details veiled. Honestly, I do wonder what it will be that results in my death. Old age, some tragic car crash, illness, or even martyrdom. Yeah, oddly enough, I have a recurring dream where I am murdered for my faith in Jesus. It’s scary, but I’ve had it so many times now, I no longer fear it, but I actually think through what preparation I would do in order to be able to willingly give my life for the honor and glory of Christ. What if my children were there? How do I prepare them for the “worst case scenario?” My oldest son has been reading and writing a lot lately. It is his natural passion and I encourage him in it at every opportunity. We were reading the Bible together and he read aloud,
“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.
John 15:18-19 HCSB
And he got a look of consternation on his face and did a bit of a double take. “Wait…what!?” he spluttered. “Hate you? …because you love Jesus!?!? What in the world!?!?!?”
In that moment, the concept of sanctification- of being set apart- of not belonging to the world was shown afresh to me through my son’s eyes.
“But that’s not right, or fair! Why would someone hate you just because you love Jesus?”
Kids relentlessly ask the hard questions, don’t they?
Jesus said that the world would hate us, the more we were conformed to His image. And the reason is simple- because it hated HIM first. The world hated Jesus Christ enough to nail Him to a cross, hurl insults at him, mock and demean and berate the Son of God, spit on Him, revile the Holy One of Israel. That turns my stomach.
“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool! ’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron! ’ will be subject to hellfire.
Matthew 5:21-22 HCSB
The hatred that led to the murder of Christ is within each human heart. Anger. Bitterness. It’s the same as murder in the eyes of God.
And someday, it may fall to me or my children or their children to look that anger in the face and answer it with an unwavering, steadfast, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”
Do we really believe that?
I don’t think so.
If we did, we’d live life differently. Right? I mean, I would.
I wouldn’t be so afraid of everything; the “unknown” is known to God. The One who heals and restores all things rules and reigns over the universe! What is there to fear when you surrender yourself into His arms?
And I certainly wouldn’t dread returning to the Author of my soul- the One who holds me fast, the Unchanging One, Faithful and True. I’d be constantly seeing to make myself ready for my Groom. And certianly I don’t understand the depths of the wisdom of God and I realize my simplification of this concept of staring death in the face and yet, I want to quietly accept it, knowing my soul rests in the hands of the Almighty.
Father, prepare my heart while I’m living to meet You whether in rapture or death- let my soul not fear man, but God alone. Amen!
Come, Lord Jesus.