I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. (Romans 8:38-39, CEB)
Ultimately, this is the reason why I don’t fear death. I know that there is nothing in this universe or beyond that can separate me from God’s love.
Christians have vast and differing views on what happens when we die. Some say that we lie in a state of sleep (i.e. are dead or unconscious) until the final judgement. Others say that we go straight to heaven and are immediately brought into the presence of God.
The problem is, both positions have scriptural support.
I have sat in Bible studies and classrooms where explosive debates raged over what happens when we die. Bible are whipped out. Concordances are examined at lightning speed. Childhood memory verses are recalled from the deep recesses of the mind.
But when the dust settles there is one truth that everyone can agree on: In the end, no matter what, we will be in God’s care.
For a long time I struggled with this–I am one of those who want to cling to the scripture references that tell us we will be with God immediately. When I see Jesus turn to the man on the cross and promise him that “today you will be with me in paradise”, I find comfort. And the notion that I may have to wait until a possibly far and distant date, does not offer me comfort.
But with a little spiritual maturity I learned to trust God to fulfill God’s promise to me–that faith in Jesus Christ would bring salvation. And that’s what it all boiled down to: Trust. Trusting God to be God and knowing that even though I don’t have all the answers and there are aspects of life (and death) that I do not understand, God does understand.
So I have nothing to fear. Nothing at all. Because the one thing that I know will happen, no matter what happens after death, is that I will be in God’s care forever. What is there about that to fear?