Overcome death’s grip

An Invitation: Overcome the Grip of Death

No doubt some who read this book have a fear of death that has plagued you for a long time. For me, this fear was ignited when I was only twelve years old. It started when my dad passed away after a short illness.  Beginning the night he died, and nearly every night thereafter for almost exactly thirty years, I had an identical dream about my premature death. In this dream, a black widow spider, sometimes many, would swarm around me. I would be unable to move or escape, and then IT would happen: The lead spider would bite me and I would immediately expire. 

Over those thirty years, depending on my living situation, I would wake up and scare the "bejeebers" out of whoever was in my room, either my  roommate for years, or later, my amazing wife Janie. After years of marriage Janie got used to this routine to the point of not even totally waking up when it happened. She would simply say in her slumber, "It’s just a dream. You’re okay. Go back to sleep dear." It wasn’t until I went through my near-death experience that I was released from the plague that had kept me locked up for those many years.

Since then, as a survivor against all odds, I have learned some things about how to break free from the fear of death. First, recognize that death is greatly over-rated by our culture. When we hear the word, ‘death,’ we have been conditioned to stop, to freeze up in our tracks. We become instantaneously irrational. Our culture has no answers for death. We attempt to minimize our inability to deal with death by using "cute" metaphors like "the big sleep." According to scripture, for those who die a good death the "good sleep" awaits them. Does that surprise you? This is the future experience for all of who trust Jesus for their right standing before God.

When I speak of my death experience, I usually take the time to pray for the fear of death to be broken from people’s lives. I have heard back, months and years later that something remarkable has happened in those prayer times, that God has evidently released many from their captivity to a long-term fear of death.

There are lots of forces at work in our culture’s 24/7 media machinery that are constantly bombarding us with messages about death that are totally exaggerated. We are told that death is the end of things, that death is the ultimate fearful experience. When we hear that a doctor’s prognosis is "the big C,  cancer," we are conditioned to simply just fall apart. The problem is, we have been trained by our culture that when we face death, all hope goes out the window. But that is the formula of a life that hasn’t discovered the saving life of Christ. Clearly many Christ-followers are trapped in this cycle because of these powerful influences. I know from experience, more than once in fact, that death is not something to fear. I know that death is not painful at the point of passing. Paul says that to "Be apart from our body is to be with the Lord." That’s exactly what happened with me in the  operating room. I was immediately in God’s presence.

Let’s break the grip of the fear of death in your life right now. Call upon the Holy Spirit. He is the Creator of the Universe. All that we see, all that is comes from him ultimately. He has the power to do all things. All things. There is no request that you can ask of him that is beyond his capacity to change. As you walk in this new relationship with Christ in a personal way, sooner or later you will discover, at a personal level his power to empower you to be effective in all things, to free you from all your encumbrances. Ask him to free you from what has held you captive. He will come in a special way and bring you freedom. Call upon him with all of your heart and he will move on your behalf to show himself to you, and to draw you to himself!