I visited a man on his death bed yesterday. I left confused. This man had no relationship with Jesus, no interest in the gospel, yet no fear of death. His only desire was to ease his physical pain and die without a struggle. I couldn’t understand it. Really? No fear of death at all? It led me to consider: should Christians fear death?
The first time I remember seeing a dead body was when I was eight. I was terrified! It was my stepmother’s body in a casket. My mother died giving birth to me, so this was the woman that I knew as mom. Seeing her lifeless body scared me. The whole concept of death confused me and gave me a sick feeling. There was nothing casual about it.
Seeing my dad in a casket four years later brought the same kind of fear and sobriety. Forty years later, I still get deeply disturbed at funerals. Whenever I see a dead body, I inevitably think, “That will be me soon.” Then all sorts of uncomfortable thoughts follow. Uncomfortable thoughts, yes: but should Christians fear death?
Should Christians Fear Death?
Wisdom Ponders Death
I understand that Christians should not fear death. Jesus died and rose from the grave, therefore death has lost its “sting” (1 Corinthians 15:55–56). But just because the fear subsides, it doesn’t mean we are left feeling indifferent. Death has a way of jolting us into seriousness. Don’t you still get an eerie or maybe even sick feeling when you think about your own death?
Some of it is just trying to grasp something so foreign to us: the separation of the soul from the body. We are unable to fathom existing apart from the only body we’ve known. The other troubling mystery is trying to imagine what we will first see and experience after death. What will it be like when we first see a heavenly being or God himself?
Death is not an easy thing to meditate on, but the wise person will think about death often.
Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
When was the last time you prayed that prayer? A wise man thinks about his death often, and the fool ignores it. This is why the enemy keeps us from thinking and talking about death. And this is why we must work to keep the brevity of life on the forefront of our minds.
Next week, one of my friends is going to court. There is a chance that he will be sentenced to several years in prison. As you can imagine, it is hard for him to think about anything else. As much as he will try to have a “normal” week, I’m pretty sure his mind will be preoccupied with what the judge is going to say.
Shouldn’t we also be preoccupied with our upcoming day in God’s court? The Bible says that one day we will stand before a Judge who is referred to as a “Consuming Fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Unbelievably, some will go their whole lives without ever considering what this moment will be like.