I am surprised at the fear of death that seems to prevail in the Christian community. Why should death have any hold on a true believer? Christ conquered death on the cross, and our life in this world cannot even be compared to the glory that awaits us on the other side. Acts 20:24 says, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—-the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Yet, my own mother, who was rock-solid in her faith in Christ, lay on her deathbed and suddenly became scared of death. Although a strange phenomenon for a believer, it could be that this is a natural tendency of our flesh, perhaps not so much fearing what’s on the other side, but being afraid of the transitional experience of death itself–from a temporal existence into an eternal one.
A recent 60 Minutes episode reported on an Afghan spy named Amrullah Saleh, who performed many dangerous missions against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban throughout the Mideast. He’s under constant threat of assassination. Yet, he says, “If they kill me, I have told my family and my friends not to complain about anything…” When asked if he was worried about his own survival, he said, “No, there is a cause, and if the pursuance of that cause I embrace death, it will be a dignified death.”
Regardless of Saleh’s faith, we Christians can learn from this wise man. His comments are quite analogous to the Christian experience. Our death should be viewed as our final earthly experience that brings glory to God, and we should rejoice in it, and complain about nothing. This is true for every believer, and for all of his loved ones whose time has not yet come. We should welcome death–not to the point of suicide, of course, because only God is to decide how many days we should live on this earth.
Indeed, “… there is a cause…” A believer’s cause is to bring glory to God by following Jesus Christ, in this life, and into eternity. And when, “… in the pursuance of that cause, I embrace death, it will (indeed) be a dignified death,” and one that glorifies God.