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Listen while you read: "Fairest Lord Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
"If I eat this, will it kill me?" "Is this poison?" "If I touch it, will I die?" According to mom's child report, I asked those questions repeatedly: death questions.
At nine, I asked Jesus to forgive my sins, trusting my life and future to Him. Dad assured me that I'd live in heaven after death. Several years later, I developed an unusual fear of death, and knowing that I'd go to heaven didn't alleviate it. I wasn't ready to die. I had too much living to do.
I now have more miles behind me than ahead, making my demise nearer. I'm still comforted by the thought of heaven, but not overly excited about getting there presently. As I learn to accept the inevitability of my body succumbing to the aging processes, my fear of death slowly subsides.
According to the apostle John, perfect love and fear cannot co-exist.
1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)
The future, eternity, judgment, death: I've feared them all, but only because God's love wasn't perfected in me. After it was, I viewed life differently.
What about the future? — and specifically mine? God normally reveals it one day at a time and occasionally lets me peep farther. Regardless, it's under His control. Today has enough worries, so tomorrow's are better left unworried about.
Eternity? That was settled the moment that I asked Jesus to forgive my sins. It's called heaven, and the moment death closes my eyes, I'll open them there.
Judgment? Not a problem either. Forgiven sins are not remembered or recorded. My slate is clean.
Death? Unless Jesus returns, I'll experience it, but it's okay. I've made preparations.
Living fearlessly is superior to the alternative. Fears can control and stymie spiritual growth — or we can give them to God, letting His perfect love bury them in unconditional trust.
Prayer: God of love and grace, remove the fears paralyzing us so that we can serve You and others with joy and peace. Amen.
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