Many things are scary. Watching your infant wiggle out of his car carrier, which you had momentarily set on the table—that’s scary. Witnessing a car swerve into oncoming traffic—that’s scary. But of all the scary things, death for many is the scariest.
It’s scary because of what we know and don’t know. We know death is certain. Its cloud hangs over us at every traffic intersection, on every consult with our doctor, and during every violent storm. What we don’t know is what dying is like. We don’t know what — if anything — happens after death.
If there is no God, then death is the end and that’s it. If so, then death may be final and sad, but it’s hardly something to be afraid of. But if God exists and is waiting to judge you for all the things you have done, if there is a life after death, then death is more than sad. It’s scary.
There are no ifs about God’s existence. He does exist and people know it, though some deny it. And the Bible explains what everyone knows in his or her heart: It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Yes, that’s scary! So how happy can I be when I’m scared of dying?
If it were up to you find happiness in the face of death, you would be on an impossible journey. What we need to calm our fears and to find happiness is for someone to do something about death. Here’s the good news: someone has.
The God who awaits you after death, sent Jesus to destroy death. Jesus began that work by obeying God’s laws for you. Then he traded places with you. He gave you his perfect life in exchange for your sins. And so, with your sins laid on him, he suffered a most horrible death, which earned God’s forgiveness for you. With sin forgiven, death lost its power. So, three days after his burial, Jesus rose to life from the dead. He defeated death so that it can no longer hold the lives and bodies of those it has claimed. All people will rise from the dead.
Believe this good news and know for sure that the God, who is waiting for you, waits for you with open arms to welcome you into his Paradise. This is why the Holy Spirit told John to write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on (Revelation 14:13).
The unknown experience of death may still be scary for you, but because death has been conquered by resurrection and because there is a perfect life in a perfect place awaiting you, you can live happily, even now and ever after.