Although some people are afraid to die, there are perhaps even more persons who are literally afraid to live.
Life is scary at times. It has problems and nobody promised that it would be easy. But sometimes we discover that struggle and personal tragedy do add a whole new dimension to life. Without the struggle, there would be no victory. An unknown author has given this illustration:
Imagine, if you can, two unborn babies in the mother's womb. Each of them is talking about the uncertain prospects of what is just ahead.
The one twin says, "Leaving this womb can mean nothing but death. We are absolutely dependent upon this womb, which sustains and feeds us."
The other baby replies, "But nature has been developing us for nine months. Nature is not utterly irrational. She is preparing us for something."
"But," the unbelieving twin answers, "Describe, if you can, the kind of a world into which we are going to be born. What is it like?"
And that, of course, completely stumps the believing child. "I can't describe it," he replies, "I have no idea what it is like, but I am sure that nature would never do what she has been doing all these months with no meaning or purpose in the process."
To which the unbelieving baby replies, "But that is just blind faith!"
Of course, the believing child is right. Unknown to us, there is a reason and purpose behind this life of toil and sorrow. Life is going someplace, and it is not just blind faith.
When these two children are born, they will discover that life is both good and bad. There is evil and there is good. There is struggle and there can be victory. There is sadness, but there is also joy.
And the same thing may be said when we approach the end of our lives here. To die may seem scary, but to be born is equally so. Some may say that it is just "blind faith" that causes us as Christians to believe that God has planned something more just ahead. But we say we believe we have spent these three score years and 10 as part of God's great training program for what we have been prepared, but is as yet unseen.
To be born and to die are both fearful experiences, until we recognize the ongoing presence of one who hasn't stopped loving us yet, and has promised that he will love and care for us even to eternity.
Francis Guither, a pastor for 46 years, is the author of seven books. Guither is retired and lives in Quincy at Good Samaritan Home with his wife Katharine. His most recent church was Carthage United Methodist.