Even though I’m a Christian, I’ve always been scared of death. Scared to die and scared for others to die. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be with Jesus. I genuinely want to know Jesus and to see Him face to face. But I’ve always battled a fear of death. I love my life. I love my husband, our family, our dog, my job. The thought of all of that just suddenly leaving my life, or me leaving life, leaves me with a dry gulp and pit in my stomach. But if I know God, why do I struggle with overcoming the fear of death?
About a month ago, my husband Zach’s papa passed away. Papa Don was an honorable, humble, loving, faith-filled, and joyful man. He always welcomed me with open arms, let me tease him about football, and made sure Zach and I left his house with a soda pop. His death was unexpected and incredibly heartbreaking. As a newlywed, I didn’t know how to comfort Zach—we had never gone through a loss together before. And I still had this fear of death lurking over my shoulder, holding me paralyzed.
After receiving news of Papa Don’s passing, I quickly drove back home to be with Zach and his family. The dark cloud of fear began creeping up faster and heavier on my shoulders. I could feel my hands getting sweaty, my pulse rising, and my stomach sinking. I didn’t know what else to do besides pray! And I honestly didn’t know what to pray for other than for God’s peace to be present in my heart and in Zach’s heart.
I cried out, “God, I’m scared. I’m scared of death. I love You, but I’m scared. Why am I scared?” I think the first step to overcoming the fear of death was admitting I was scared out loud. I arrived back home and walked into Zach’s family home and in the middle of what could easily feel like the world falling apart, I heard God’s whisper, “I’m here. I’m not leaving. I will never leave you.” Looking around the room, His peace was everywhere, in the tears, the smiles, in the silence, through it all. God was there.
So maybe that’s what I needed. To confront the fear of death head on and still feel the peace and presence of God. Losing Papa Don was not easy. It hurt, and it still stings when I remember his hello-hugs and goodbye-kisses.
Here’s what I’ve learned that has helped me overcome the fear of death.
- God is never going to leave you. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified … for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
- This world is not our forever home. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14 NLT
- God’s peace will comfort you. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
- Heaven sounds like a place I want to be. “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 NIV
If you’re scared to die or are struggling with overcoming the fear of death, ask God for help. He tells us in His Word that if we ask in His name, it will be given to us. Death is inevitable for all of us, but in Christ, we have an everlasting life!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV