Read Philippians 1:21
For to me,living means living for Christ,and dying is even better. (NLT)
Woody Allen once famously said that he wasn’t afraid of his dying: he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. We can philosophise all we like about human mortality,but in the end we have to confront our own specific mortality. We are born to die. And as Paul reminds us,this is no gloomy piece of fatalism.
He is faced with the prospect of death at the hands of the authorities. He is not afraid of death because he is sure it will usher him into the presence of God: a presence only partially experienced in life. Then again,he is not hungering after death as a sort of blissful escapism. Going on living means more fruitful living for Jesus and more blessing for others. In other words,he can’t lose either way.
For many of us,it is not so much death we fear as the process of dying. Such a process can be long and drawn out and cause much concern for others around us. Death can be a wonderful release after the wearying process of dying. We would love to be able to manage our death so it is peaceful,painless,and timely. But just as we can’t manage life,we can’t so manage death.
All we can do is entrust ourselves and those we love to our faithful God. And to believe that the final journey,whatever shape it takes,has a sure and glad destination if such trust exists. It is beyond us to manage dying: it is not beyond God to conquer death.