Since the loss of my daughter a little over a month ago at age 29, I have been thinking a lot about death.
I am no stranger to the fear of death. In fact, I am quite familiar with this fear, as it would often hit me at night. Now, I know that perfect love casts out fear, and there is nothing to fear in the arms of the Trinity, but I would be afraid none the less. When you have heard about an angry, wrathful God all your life, and that it is up to you to please Him and make things right, the fear doesn't just disappear overnight. Even as I began to understand His love and grace, and the New Covenant, I would still be afraid and if I am to be completely honest, I still sometimes have that fear.
I have had to fight the thoughts that there is something wrong with me because of this fear. I know I have nothing to fear, and I know I am God's child, and yet sometimes it is there. I ask God, "what is wrong with me? Others don't seem to have this fear."
Seeing my daughter leave this world has stirred up many thoughts about death and just how unnatural it is for us to die. Everything in us wants to live. Even with all our dysfunction, we want to live. We were made to live. God didn’t want us to die. This is what God warned Adam and Eve about. Don’t eat from that tree, that wisdom, because then you will search for life outside of Me. How you see me and relate to me will completely change. You will be alienated from me, no longer in fellowship with Me, and no longer in union with My life. Not because of Me, but because of your choice. It was God’s mercy that banned them from the Garden so they would not eat from the tree of life and be left in the state they were in. Physical death had to come and there would be an opportunity for anyone and everyone to eat from the tree of life, which is Jesus, and live forever. Yes, we would still have to die the physical death, but because Jesus came as one of us, entered our world, in a body of flesh like ours, and He would restore life back to us. His death would die our death away. How? By the power of the Holy Spirit resurrecting Him. Even when Lazarus was raised back to life, He would still physically die again. But the raising of Lazarus showed everyone around that Jesus held the power of life.
The Lord is helping me to see that there is nothing wrong with me. I am a human being, flesh and blood who was once held in slavery by the fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14) It was in me from the moment I was born, because from the moment I was born, I began physically dying. I was alienated from God in my mind and actions, not in fellowship with Him, seeking life by what I do. When this fear of death comes up, it is partly a residual effect from who I used to be, and it is a real reality that I will physically die. Dying is not pleasant no matter how one may physically die.
I am reminded that I am a child and children have fears that need to be calmed by their parents, repeatedly. My Daddy God is no different. I know that He will help me in that moment when my actual physical death comes, and I will have peace. Why? Because I have asked Him to do this. He knows my journey with this fear, and He has been with me every step of the way calming me in my fears, and He will continue to do so. To tell someone they shouldn’t fear really doesn’t help them for only God can truly take that fear away.
As I think back upon those two weeks watching my daughter on the ventilator, knowing death was inevitable, I wonder what was happening in the unseen realm. Was God ministering to her that whole time? Did she know we were there? Was she afraid? These are questions I will never know on this side of my life and ultimately those questions are some of the questions I am thinking about when it is my time to walk through the valley of death.
This is what is on my heart tonight and as I began writing, I wasn’t sure what I was going to say or how it would come out. But here it is. It is important to be honest and vulnerable about where we are at and what we are going through. This is how we comfort one another and truly connect with each other on a human level.
There may be things that we do not agree on as far as doctrine and interpretation of Scripture, but one thing I do know is that Jesus is our only way back to true life, fellowship, union, and our resurrection from the dead. When it comes down to it, that is all I need to know and believe. He truly is a good, good Father.