Listen to this devotional:
Romans 14:8 – If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (NIV)
Are you afraid of dying? As we look deep into our souls, do we see fear there, fear of the future, fear of the unknown? Why am I here, and for how long? Surely, this is the fundamental question of our existence. I have had a hard time lately with my health, suffering from very high blood pressure. Fear of dying from a heart attack or stroke puts this fundamental question in front of me with a flashing red light.
My mother died at an early age from the consequences of very high blood pressure. I was only seventeen at the time, and had the major responsibility of nursing her during the last few weeks of her life, as mother wanted to be at home among us all. This memory has influenced the approach to my own illness.
Human beings are created by God with a limit to our awareness. We know and remember many details about the past, wishing we could bury some of it. We are immersed daily in the present, trying to make something worthwhile out of each day. But each day is so short. What have we accomplished by nightfall? Sleep buries unfinished dreams, leaving plans hanging with hope for tomorrow. But death is final — no more dreams to finish. Or is that true? What do we know about tomorrow? For a Christian, though, death is not the final act!
Paul says, "Whether I live or die, I am the Lord's." It is a conundrum, yet I believe this truth with all my heart. This is how the resurrection of Jesus daily heralds our own resurrection! We fully live in Him after death, renewed by His Spirit, and whether we live or die, it doesn't really matter, for we are now and ever shall be with the Lord.
Because the risen Jesus lives eternally, we also live on after the death of this mortal body. We need not fear the future; the dream for tomorrow is eternal! Each new day heralds the promise: whether we live or die during this day, we belong to the Lord. This is very reassuring. The future is in His hands. I look forward to it with interest, wondering what plans Jesus has for me in that glorious tomorrow.
Prayer: Dear Lord, our expectation of death is coloured with the fear of the unknown. That future event, whether in failing health or through an accident, can press heavily on our minds. Yet in Jesus, our future is fully known. It is with Him! Why then be afraid? Humbly, we ask You to remove this fear of the unknown from our souls, and replace it with such a strong personal experience with You, the risen Lord, that in surrendering to You, we have full assurance through faith. Whatever comes next, whether it be our death or a major struggle while facing this day, life or death will be with joy and peace, being confident and unafraid. Amen.