9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
Please be warned, this post is about fear, death and dying. If that is too real, please, just don’t read it.
It just never gets old, God reaching down and helping me when I ask for it. It happens so often, and I feel like a broken record because I always talk about it here, but it is just so cool when he speaks. To me, it is never an audible voice, I am not saying it can’t be, but so far, for me, it hasn’t been. With me, God tends to speak through others and he almost always confirms that he has spoken with at least one, but usually several confirmations. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
I posted a couple of days ago that I was going to focus on taking my fears captive this year, stop the sin cycle, stop allowing fear to keep me from doing things or from trusting God. (It is important to note that I have been a slave to the fear of death for several years. I quit smoking 8 years ago and since then I have had one long, almost constant, panic attack about my imminent death. It doesn’t escape me that almost no one would consider 8+ years as imminent, but fear isn’t logical.) Two days later I was channel surfing at home and I stumbled across a very strange show called Adam Ruins Everything. I know nothing about Adam, his political views, or if his show is appropriate for Christians or not. It doesn’t matter to me, but if it does to you please do your own research first. This particular episode (see part of this episode here but beware, this is a secular clip and the actors use a couple of harsh words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGqbALhpUmM) was about death and how we really have to face our fear of death and think about it and plan for it if we ever hope to really live. I believe the Spirit in me immediately said “listen.” And over the next 30 minutes I began to lose my fear of death.
First, I started thinking about what death might really be like. How it will probably be painful, and I will be exhausted, and how most likely I will close my eyes and die. As a lover of sleep, this is not all that scary. Also, since I know that when I open my eyes again I will be with my Savior in Heaven, it doesn’t sound so bad at all. Next, I started thinking about how I would like to be buried. I am so glad I watched this show, because I found out about Green Burials and how there are now options to embalming and steel vault caskets that are WAY more appealing to me (like shrouds and memorial parks with trees). Finally, I got online the next morning and started looking at all of my funeral and burial options and started making a plan. Suddenly, death and dying aren’t quite as scary and I think I can stop worrying a bit and not panic every time I feel sick or get a cold. I am dying, there is nothing I can do about that. Now that I have a plan that my family can follow I can get on with living and know that both physically and spiritually I am ready for that day if it is tomorrow or 40 years from now.
I got my confirmation this morning when I read this section of Ecclesiastes 3 and see the line about God setting eternity in our hearts. I immediately think, “well of course we don’t want to die.” God created us for fellowship with him and he put the understanding in us that this world is not all there is. But then we sinned and cut ourselves off from everlasting life with God. Our sin now distorts our reality and keeps us from seeing God and truth. Our only way back is through faith in Christs’ sacrifice on the cross, but to get eternal life now with God, we have to first believe in Christ as our savior and then we must die. I am finally beginning to mean it when I read Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Father God, thank you for being God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayers often before I can even vocalize them. Help me keep seeking you, your truth and your wisdom. Fill me with the Spirit of truth that I may easily discern good and evil. And help me live every single day like it might be my last, but not fear death and my home coming to you.