Everyone is afraid of something. Fears range from the common, such as fear of flying or heights, to the less common alektorophobia (fear of chickens) and globophobia (fear of balloons).
I know that many peoples’ main phobias are public speaking and death. According to most surveys taken, people fear public speaking more than death! This led one comedian to say, “This means that if you go to a funeral you would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy!” I definitely understand people’s fear of public speaking and it is not fun to get in front of an audience and speak to them about any subject. After you do it more and more it gets a little easier, but after 7 years of occasional preaching and 8 years of full-time preaching, I will tell you the fear never fully goes away.
However, not everyone will have to experience the fear, sweaty palms, and nauseous feeling which come with standing up to speak to an audience, but all will have to face the fear of death because all will die. There is an element of fear to death because we are plunging into the unknown. We don’t know what will happen to us after we die or the order of events which we will go through; we just know we will. A tremendous fear and no way to avoid it, this fear must be faced.
The Bible reminds us that death is certain and we will all face it:
Ecclesiastes 2:16b: “And how the wise man and the fool alike die”
Ecclesiastes 3:2a: “A time to give birth and a time to die…”
Ecclesiastes 6:6: “Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”
Ecclesiastes 9:5a: “For the living know they will die…”
Hebrews 9:27: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for me to die once and after this comes judgement…”
But how do we as Christians face our fear of death? When it comes time for us or a loved one to pass on from this life then how should we respond?
1. We are going to be with the Lord
While we don’t know the sequence of events we should take comfort in the fact that if we are a child of God, we are going to be with the Lord. No matter if you are alive when the Lord returns or you have already passed on, Paul tells us in the final day “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). Jesus tells us He is preparing a place for us so that He may “come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:3).
2. Where we are going is far better than where we are
When we look at this world, we see sin, pain, sickness, disappointment, and agony. We get increasingly frustrated at life on so many levels and yet for some strange reason we want to remain here. We are going to a place where none of these things exist (Rev. 21:4)! Paul realized the persecutions he experienced were nothing in comparison to what was waiting for him (2 Cor. 4:17-18)! Nothing was better for Paul than the thought of going to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23).
3. We can have confidence in afterlife
Lastly, we can have confidence life after death because it was promised to us by God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). God always keeps His promises and for that we can rejoice! God’s plan of eternal life was from long ages ago because He has always wanted the creation made in His image to share an eternity with Him!