June 18, 2014

Should Christians Be Afraid of Death?

Psalm 23

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
—Psalm 23:4


During a mission trip to India, flying from Madras to Mumbai, our plane was caught in a severe thunderstorm. Before we realized what was happening, luggage and food dishes were flying through our cabin. I was convinced that this would be the end of my life, and I began to realize that I was afraid of death.

When I got back home, I told a colleague that I had been afraid to die. He told me that Christians had no reason to be afraid of death. While that is true, I think most of us fear it anyway. Throughout my ministry I have found that many people are afraid to face that last enemy called death. And some ask quite frankly, “Will God accept me when I die?”

Some people are afraid to admit their fear of death. And often those who visit with people who are dying don’t dare to talk about the person’s death. A young nurse who was dying sensed that fear in some people who came to see her. She wrote, “Why are you afraid? I know you’re insecure, you don’t know what to say, you don’t know what to do. Just don’t run away. All I need is someone to hold my hand.”

Don’t be afraid to admit your fear. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Take your fear to the Lord, and remember the words of Psalm 23, that the Lord, our great Shepherd, is with you.

Father in heaven, be close to those who are afraid. Reach out to them, reassure them, and help us to do the same. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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