Question: I know that I’ll be in heaven, but I still have a fear of the moment of death, the process of dying. Can you help me?
Response: We are aware of a poem (from the Gospel Tract Society in Springfield, MO) that goes something like this:
To bid farewell to Earth and its toils and troubles and pains—afraid of that?
To exchange this arthritic, bent body for an incorruptible form—afraid of that?
To greet loved ones who’ve gone before and behold their joy—afraid of that?
To exchange a tear-stained vale for a land without tears—afraid of that?
Some thoughts to ponder indeed. Consider this: If we’ve become faithful servants, keeping our eyes fixed not upon death but upon Jesus, the author and finisher of faith (Heb:12:2), we will be less likely to succumb to the one sorrow for a believer at death: no, not even the farewell to loved ones but the regret that while on Earth we could have done more for our Lord, especially bringing others to Him.
First Corinthians 15:26 tells us that the last enemy that will be conquered is death, that we will be raised in incorruption, not corruption; in glory, not dishonor; in power, not weakness (vv. 42-43); changed (v. 52); and in victory (v. 54)! How much better could it get?
You mentioned as well fearing the process of dying. None of us knows what the hours or moments before death will hold, but since the Lord has worked in our lives, superintended, orchestrated, guided, and led through all the vicissitudes of this world, why would we not trust Him even more as He guides and leads us toward that glorious moment when we see Him face to face and He welcomes us home? Would that compassion that is “new every morning” and “fails not” (Lam:3:23) wane one iota at such a wondrous hour?
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom:8:37-39).
The physical process of dying can be painful and prolonged. This, of course, can be especially true of those who are called to be martyrs. The following poem expresses well the basis of courage even when entering that trial—the joy that awaits us in Christ’s presence:
In weakness like defeat,
He won the victor’s crown;
Trod all our foes beneath His feet,
By being trodden down.
He Satan’s power laid low:
Made sin, He sin o’erthrew.
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so;
And death by dying slew.