I laid on my bed one night tumultuously struggling with thoughts of death. My emotions were overwhelmed with the terror of not being able to escape such a dreadful fate. I pulled the covers over my head wishing I could find some refuge but my fear only grew in intensity. As I tossed from side to side I could not stop myself from trembling and crying. In my mind and in my spirit I keep saying, “I don’t want to die; I don’t want to die” but my thoughts were oppressive and kept me terrorized with fear.
Then a calm overtook me, like when clouds roll back from a storm and you feel the warmth of the summer sun come out and light your face with a cool accompanying breeze. I heard the voice of the Lord speak softly to my spirit. He said, “You are my child because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord and you, therefore, belong to Me.” He told me that He loves me and is always with me. He told me how His unfailing love for me has been graciously preparing me for the very moment that I found myself so fearful of. He reminded me how I have practiced every night of my life for the very moment when I will physically die. And He assured me that I had become well versed in the process. That process is called “falling asleep.”
Peacefully, every night of my life I have rehearsed my grand exit from this world. As I fall asleep each night I cannot recall exactly when I lose consciousness and fall into a state of sleep, but it is something that happens regularly with no fanfare or fear. How peaceful those moments are; how unafraid I am of falling asleep at those times.
The Lord reminds me that that is exactly what is going to happen to me when I physically die. He says I am going to go to sleep one more time, then when I awake, because I belong to Him, I will wake up to find myself with Him in paradise for eternity.
Understand one thing: People will have an experience of thinking about death at some point in their lives. For some, it may come when they are small children. For others, it may come when something has threatened their life. Some might witness a loved one die right before their eyes and wonder where they have gone to. Regardless of the circumstance, rest assured, people are destined to confront their mortality at some point in their lives.
Death has become a reality: Death was never in God’s original design for man. Man’s sin brought the consequences of physical death from this world and spiritual death from God into existence.
Death affects the human spirit in two ways. It separates the human spirit from the presence of God and it separates the human spirit from the physical body.
Adam and Eve brought a curse on all humanity in the Garden of Eden when they sinned against God. As a result, everyone’s spirit is separated from the presence of God at birth. Everyone is “spiritually dead” at birth.
In addition, everyone will experience a “physical death”, where there will be a separation of their spirit from their physical body at the end of their physical life. Both of these deaths are a reality we all face.
Unless you have knowledge concerning your human spirit, the thought of death creates anxiety, fear, and trepidation. Unless you have knowledge of God’s love for you and what He has done to resolve the dilemma of your human spirit, the thought of death stings your very soul.
Scripture identifies two resting places for the human spirit when physical death comes. One is for those who are reunited with the presence of God through rebirth and the other is for those who remain separated from the presence of God through the rejection of Jesus Christ. The location of the former is the bosom of Abraham; the location of the latter is Hell.
You see, man cannot change the reality of his physical death; the separation of his human spirit from his physical body. But he can change the reality of his separation from the presence of God.
By believing in Jesus Christ’s death as the propitiation for man in satisfying God’s judgment for Adam’s sin and by believing in Jesus Christ’s resurrection as God’s justification for man, a provision is given to man that resolves his separation from the presence of God. The provision is a manifestation of God’s grace. The provision is a gift of God. It is salvation. The provision is Jesus Christ.
Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior brings you into perfect fellowship with God. It answers the question, which resting place will my spirit go to when it is separated from my physical body. It will go to the bosom of Abraham. Positioned to receive a new body that will never be separated from God but united with God eternally.
1Corinthians 15:50-57 (TLB)
I tell you this, my brothers: an earthly body made of flesh and blood cannot get into God’s Kingdom. These perishable bodies of ours are not the right kind to live forever.
But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky, and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever. When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true – “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin – the sting that causes death – will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Therefore, if you have accepted Jesus Christ, you can continue your “dress rehearsals” with a peace that surpasses all human understanding. You never again will have to become fearful about death.