You know, it’s one thing to say you’re not afraid of death when you’re feeling perfectly healthy, when you actually fully expect to live another 40 years, when things are working out for you in life, when you feel loved and surrounded by great friends and family.
It’s a whole different thing when you are aware that you are probably dying. It is humiliating to watch your physical abilities diminish. One by one things you used to be able to do for yourself are taken away. You don’t feel quite so tough when you’re wearing a catheter and have to use a bedpan. The devil will bring back memories of moral failings from long ago, and you may start wondering if those were really forgiven or are notes still outstanding with the divine Auditor.
You’re supposed to be glad you’re going to heaven, but the leap into the dark is so foreign, so unknown, that you grasp for the here and now, the familiar. Panic gnaws: “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me” (Psalm 55:4,5). There is only one antidote for that fear—the certain knowledge that your Savior Jesus has already gone through the entire experience and removed all the ugliness. When your spirit parts from your body, you will experience only the greatest thrill of your life—the healing, joy, relief, and celebration of finally being home.
Don’t be afraid to put your hand in his.