When I was little, I was afraid to close my eyes at bedtime because I might not wake up the next morning. I feared taking medications, especially new ones, because of the lovely warning labels every pill bottle wore. A few years later, I would thoroughly check my food for choking hazards, contamination, or anything that could be poisonous. Even now, in adulthood, I have Googled symptoms in fear that I might have some deathly ailment.
Although I can now laugh at my childhood (and adult) paranoia, many of us fear our own death. We consider this a normal fear—if someone didn’t share this fear, we might consider them odd. It’s instinctual to want to live and see death as only bad. But does the Bible promote this attitude? Perhaps we should consider our fear and see what God’s word has to say about it.
Paul’s Desire For Death
If anyone, Paul had a right view of death—he shared it in Philippians 1:20-26:
“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
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