I don’t have a terminal disease. I haven’t been given a set amount of years to live, yet I am dying. I’ve spent many years soaking up what this world has to offer, trying to deny or ignore the fact that this can’t last forever, I will some day die. Some day could be soon, maybe years from now or maybe, like my Great Grandma, it will be many years from now (see’s over 100 years old!). The point is this, every day we are one more breath away from our last and it’s insane that I ever tried to deny or ignore this fact. I’m a dying Christian girl with the hope of heaven and yet, I’m scared.
I’m a Christian. I don’t know what preconceived ideas you have about Christians, but for the sake of clarity let me define what that means to me. I am a Christ follower, which means I choose to believe what scripture says and live it out. I choose to let scripture trump my desires and when I don’t (I’m a hot mess even with Jesus), I have learned to confess and repent. Simply put, I’m ‘a hot mess riding the coattails of a perfect Savior. The last few years of my life have brought some major tragedy followed by major blessing. I’ve lost loved ones and gained loved ones. I’ve had my foundation shattered only to have it rebuilt on a stronger foundation, Jesus. The result is I went from being religious Christian to having a personal relationship with my Savior. So there it is, the major condensed version of how Jesus has changed my life. Jesus has changed my life radically, yet I still am scared of what it means to leave this world and be with him.
My parents died in a plane crash a few years ago, which shattered my foundation because my heart quickly realized we don’t live forever (I’m a smart cookie, huh? Major realizations happening here.). Hear me out, though, my head always knew we don’t live forever. You don’t have to be a Christian to get the fact that you are going to die, BUT my heart didn’t really want to believe and accept it. Do you really want to believe that some day you will leave everyone you love and everything you like? Does that really sound fun, exciting and better? If you are a Christian, you know the right answer is “yes, that does” but I’m not talking about the right answer, I’m talking about what your heart says. Does this make your heart beat with excitement or anxiety? Listen, this isn’t some “life after death” post. Quite frankly I’m not even close to being theoretical enough to write [or read] something like that. In fact, is theoretical even the right word to use? See what I mean? I ain’t got all the smarts, but I sure did grow into that honesty. No, this isn’t some “do you know where you are going after death” or “come to Jesus” post, but by all means do! Do come to Jesus. 😉 Rather this post is just a confession from a Christian girl.
I’m scared. I’m scared to leave my kids and I don’t want to leave my husband. How do I reconcile my love for my Savior and a desire to know and be with him with the down right [in a stomp my feet, heart aching kind of way] desire to not leave people I desperately love. Is it wrong that I love my kids and husband so much? No! It’s not wrong and it’s not too much. Is it even wrong for me to fear to leave them? Let me be careful here not to confuse scripture with personal opinion. Yes, scripture is clear that it is wrong to let fear run, rule and dictate every move we make. It’s wrong and quite frankly, it’s slavery to live that way. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). However, does that mean we are never going to fear? No! Why? Because we aren’t the perfect Savior and this is the very reason we need a Savior. There is no possible way we can do this without him. We are going to fear but we can let scripture trump our fear. By letting scripture trump our fear, doesn’t mean all of a sudden we are going to feel better and your world will be neat and tidy again. In fact, you may not feel better and your world around you a complete wreck, and even still, Truth can trump fear. Let me paint a picture for you:
Your daughter is just learning to swim for the first time and she is terrified. I’m talking the type of terrified that she would rather miss out on all the fun happening in the pool just to stay away from facing her fear. But you, as her mother, knows that it will be ok because you are there to protect her. Not only will she be ok, but she is going to have way more fun if she would just get in. You are there, and you would never let anything happen to her, but you know her, you know her fears and you know why she has them. Because of that, you don’t want to force her into the water if she doesn’t want to, but you also don’t want her sitting on the side of the pool all day because you know that’s not best for her. She may not know she wants to be in the pool because her fear is too great to see what she really wants, but you are her mom, you know. God has gifted and equipped you to know her heart, so you ask her [again] to get in the pool only, this time, you ask her just to take a step. You meet her at her fear and comfort her by reminding her that she doesn’t have to jump in all of the way, she only needs to take a step and then you will come and hold her hand and be by her side until she is in all of the way in the pool. You do that because you know your daughter, you meet her at her fear because you love her and know to love her best is to help her see what’s best. She cautiously and carefully takes a step in the water, and you better believe she has her eyes on you and not the water because she wants to know, “are you really going to be there with your hand out ready to grab mine after I take the first step?”. You better believe I am, you think, as you keep your eyes locked on her, hoping your eyes speak what is loudly screaming in your heart … “trust me!”. She takes the first step and finds your hand and together you slowly, carefully, and fearfully walk all the way into that water and then … she smiles, she laughs and she wants to do it again only this time … herself.
This is it. This is how we, as Christians, navigate this life. It’s not about “snapping out of it (it being our fear)”. We can not snap out of it, we have to look up to see our Savior holding out his hand, asking us to take the first step (just a step), grabbing his hand (quite possibly with trembling), and walking with him all of the way into the water because, even though we fear what we don’t know, we trust Him. We trust he is who he says he is. But friends, it is scary and that’s ok. He knows his daughter. He knows why it’s scary for you and me. He created us to serve him and love him (Genesis 1:27), but he also knows we were created in sin and a world that is broken. He doesn’t expect us to do this without Jesus (John 3:16).
So [sigh] I’m a Christian girl who fears to die. It sounds painful to me to leave people I love because I know the pain it causes. I am currently walking out of this pain, but I’m willing to trust my Savior in the midst of the fear. So, with trembling I’ll grab my Savior’s hand because it’s out waiting for mine. If I look down at the water, I may run. Instead, I keep my eyes locked on His, making sure he will really still be there. He is where I find my courage not to kick up my heels and run the other direction. This is where I’d like to say with a little sauce and fighter attitude, “there ain’t nothin’ wussy about this kind of living.”
I guess this is what scripture means when it talks about storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Here is just another treasure to store …