Fear of death for faithful Christians is quite understandable and thoughts here about parachuting can help us see just how understandable.
“Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.”
—- Francis Bacon (1561-1626 Christian Scientist)
Death is guaranteed unless Jesus comes back before we die. I guess that Jesus will come back in about 10,000 years, so back to the death question.
Death is a part of life, so we do best to get used to it.
I like the old tune:
“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passing through…”
Think if God had let Adam and Eve eat from the tree of life. Then, we would be stuck here with nowhere to go. We also would be unable to escape our sin.
Death is an enemy, but a necessary enemy. I love letting God be God. Trusting Him for the right time and way to die is comforting as only He knows best as he does in all things.
I graduated from a college that notifies us whenever any one of our 1017 graduates dies. In my late 50’s, I am noting an uptick in the frequency of the notices. I am not sure when the median death year is, but we will have a ton in central years.
My Own Take on Fear of Death For Faithful
I parachuted 5 times with the US Army and was thankful to be done. During the training leading up to jump week, we saw countless flights with 20 people at a time jumping out making a long line across the sky. Everyone lived. No deaths or crashes due to parachute failure ever occurred. We knew the system worked, but we were afraid. It is reasonable.
Let me tell you one story from that airborne school to help us think about death with faith.
The first week they have you standard at ground level in a mock airplane door and jump out the door and count “1000 2000 3000 4000” By the time you get to 4, the chute will slow you down.
So we do this and practice our position in the air with our feet and knees together. It all seemed rather silly and too easy.
The next week, they put us on a 30 foot (about 10m) platform. They connected us to bungy cord like straps, so we would not fall to the ground. There is no danger at all.
Now, we just jump like we did on the ground with form and counting to 4000.
Myself and my classmates were all the same. The first jump we all spread eagled and screamed as we jumped. No one counted or showed good form to include myself. After we did it a few times, we all could do it right.
Why could we not simply put our feet and knees together and count?
Our fear caused this of course. We learn form childhood not to jump off tall things, or we get hurt.
We also learn to not do things that would cause us injury or death.
So death seems daunting to us. None of us is volunteering. So it is reasonable to fear death as none of us has done it before. Once we have done it a few times, we should be gradually more ok with it.
In the third week of jump school, we really jumped out of planes. I jumped and counted with good form despite the buffeting wind as I fell at great speed. Practice at 30 feet up had done me good.
Seeing Death Better
Those of us who have surrendered to God in faith that we are sinners who need Jesus too pay for our sins can be sure of our life with God in eternity. We can still be afraid like we were afraid of jumping out of planes. See also Fear is An Enemy – Now What?
As such, it is ok to think about death at times and to consider it. As we do it more, we get used to it. Let us not let fear rule us even regarding death. It is natural to fear death, so we should just face it often enough that we are more comfortable with it.
The real losers are those of us left behind when our loved ones die. They are going to a better place when they die with God as their Father. We have to learn to live without them. In that way, death is our horrible enemy. Death of my grandfather led my grandmother directly to faith in God which has led to more and more faith in my family. God makes use of anything he can to bring us to himself.
“Thank you Lord for death. May we learn to trust you and not be afraid to think about it.”