When I was younger it was the dark…and grasshoppers…and death.
Growing up, I lived in a home with an unfinished basement and whenever my mom would need me to get something from downstairs, I would accomplish the goal as quickly as humanly possible by running through the basement and then skipping steps back up to the safe zone of my home.
One summer we had a serious number of grasshoppers in our overgrown grass and I wasn’t that tall, and when those things jump up and look you in the eye, that’s enough to creep any small one out.
I’m no longer afraid of grasshoppers, and most of the time I’m pretty brave in the dark, but death still scares the you know what out of me. Most of the time I’m fairly calm and collected about it, but when I’m reminded about that farming accident that called that man of God home much too soon, or the heart attack that claimed that beloved teacher or that principal with a seemingly constant presence that unexpectedly came to an end, when I think of how close my children have been to being seriously injured on occasion, or my youngest and her knotted and wrapped around cord, when the “what if’s” get the better of me, death is nothing less than terrifying.
I wonder if you feel that way too. Even though your faith is strong, and your hope secure, I wonder if just the thought of death sometimes brings you to tears. Realistically, it probably should. Death is in no way our friend, even when it brings and end to suffering.
We saw a miracle yesterday morning in our church. My husband described it to the children in our congregation as the ultimate act of freedom. We were witnesses of the baptism of a child, another heir of the kingdom, getting her name written in the book of life, being freed from any eternal effects of sin and death. As part of the baptismal rite, these words are spoken, “So shall you stand without fear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the inheritance prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” LSB pg. 271
There is no part of me that looks forward to the next inevitable call that someone we love has died. There is no part of me that has conquered that occasional fear for the future of their family, of my own. But there is a huge part, all of me really, that loves these words of comfort, that holds onto them with a white knuckle grasp, that rejoices with their loud and triumphant truth. Because this I know, when those I love who know Jesus stand before the judgement seat, when I stand there too, I do so without fear because of Christ the crucified and His victory that is now mine and yours and that little baby’s too.
Stand without fear.
I think I can do that.
Lord, let it be so.