The fear of death comes with many faces. Some people have a great fear that loved ones will die, some think that violence will befall them, some over-eat, and others have their funeral plans and burial plot all in order. For me, I closed my mind so completely to the inevitability of death that I had no fear of death. Or so I thought.
I began to see my true condition within seconds of the doctor pronouncing the dreaded word — cancer. My whole insides went into shock and the long-ignored fears came out of hiding. It looked like there were so many nameless, formless fears all around me. I struggled to name those fears and not let them overtake me. I had been living for many years with the wonderful people that you have been reading about in this paper. They supported me completely, caring for my children when I couldn’t, doing the shopping, cooking meals — community life went on and my life and my family’s life didn’t just fall apart because I was so ill. I was lovingly surrounded and supported. And I wasn’t alone. I had someone who could understand me, night or day, whenever I wanted. Really, whenever I was afraid. So, why was I afraid?
I was afraid of the unknown. I’d felt that before when I had changed jobs or moved. I wasn’t in control of what was happening to me. I was dependent on others, not independent. There were so many unfamiliar things to get used to — hospitals, doctors, and the treatment itself.
I had never faced the fact of death before and now the very real possibility of my own death stared me in the face. Maybe I had never feared death because no one had told me what it was. When the people I now live with told me about the seriousness of death, I saw it wasn’t to be taken lightly. It is a time of complete darkness. Every shameful, embarrassing, hateful thing we ever did will come back to mind over and over again with no way to block it out. We will have the choice of either denying we did each deed or owning up to the facts and feeling regret for having been that way. There is only one way out of death — remorse.
Was I ready for death? As I struggled through the hardest hours of my treatment, I saw my deepest fear — that my God didn’t love me. I thought that I was such an awful sinner that he couldn’t possibly love me. I had heard that our Creator holds us in his “mind” from the time we are conceived until eternity. If he forgot about us for a second we would cease to exist. In my excruciatingly intense circumstances, all I could think about was, “Does he love me? Would he forget about me for a second and I’d be gone, or would he hold onto me? Was my sin more than he could bear?”
There is only one way to know for sure whether God is real — ask him. He never forsakes us; we forsake him. I cried out with my whole heart for him to save me from my circumstances and he did. He held on tight to me because he had a purpose for my life. He’s not an angry God out to get sinners. He won my heart because he didn’t give up on me.
If you cry out to the One who put you in your mother’s womb, he will hear you. If you want to know that he loves you, ask him to show you. If you want his love, he will lead you to where you can receive his love. Cry out to him and he will answer you. He answered me.