When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
Occasionally, I have run into a Christian who is afraid of dying. To assist them I have shared these stories.
Years ago, a young boy was dying, and he also was afraid. To calm his fears, his mother explained: "Dear, do you remember when you were a little boy how you used to play so hard that when night came you would fall asleep on the couch, or on the floor, or on the back seat of the car?"
Yes, he remembered that.
Mother continued, "Those places were not your bed. They were not where you belonged. In the morning, much to your surprise, you would wake up and find yourself in your own bed and in your own room. You were there because your father had come and taken you to where you belonged."
"Honey," mom continued, "death is just like that. We are tired and we fall asleep in a place that isn't home. Then we wake up and find ourselves in another place, a place where we belong. That's because Jesus has come, and with hands that were once pierced by nails, has taken us to our own room."
The boy's shining, trusting face showed he understood, and the fear was gone. He never questioned again, and several weeks later he fell asleep just as his mother had said. At that moment Jesus came and took him home where he belonged. There was no one else who could have done that -- no one else.
That story lets us know that, in Jesus, there is hope: certain hope. We no longer need to mark the passing of the years with wistful sighs and wishes that something might happen to delay our dying. That's because something has already happened to abolish death.
That is why I can tell you that as surely as Christ is risen from the dead, your loved ones in the Lord will also rise; as will you. The miracle of life has happened. Recovery has been complete. This is the glory of the resurrection Gospel that when the earthly outlook is dimmest, heavenly hope is brightest, and where defeat seems most final, the victory of Christ is most glorious.
All of this means our thinking and our talking can be changed. And if you're wondering how it's changed, let me tell you about a little girl whose baby brother had just died. She asked her mother where the baby had gone.
"To be with Jesus," replied the mother. A few days later, talking to a friend, the mother said, "I am so empty without my lost baby."
The little girl heard and, remembering what her mother had told her, came over and asked, "Mother, is a thing lost when you know where it is?"
"No, of course not."
"Well, then how can the baby be lost when we know he is with Jesus?"
Her mother never forgot; nor should you. Our loved ones, and someday we, ourselves, will not be lost. We all will be with Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of Jesus, the sting of death has been removed. Grant that my fears of death may be eliminated, and I may always enjoy the peace of mind and heart that comes from believing in Jesus as my Savior and Lord. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries