By Tyson Thorne

January 19, 2018

FearOfDeath Large

I was on a plane aproaching Denver International Airport when the captain came over the loudspeaker to announce that there was a problem with the plane's hydrolics and that we were going to have an "interesting landing." The woman in the seat next to me started to cry as it dawned on all the passangers at once that the hydraulics controls pretty much everything required to land a plane. Wing flaps, landing gear, they all rely on the hydraulic system. I turned to the woman with a reassuring smile. I wasn't worried; I knew my final destination was with Jesus.

A plane crash is a terrifying and horrible thing, but it affects about 190 people. Last Saturday a mistaken alert was sent out through Hawaii's Emergency Management system that there was an inbound ballistic missile. The entire main Island was in danger. It turned out to be a false alarm, but is instructive all the same to see people's reaction to their possible death. Fear and panic is the most common response, but that doesn't have to be the case.

“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.”

For those whose trust is in Jesus, there is no need to fear death. The death of Jesus was not intended to increase our fear but to be the solution to our fear. Through dying, Jesus was able to conquer death not just for himself but for all of us. Since Jesus' was resurrected, we too will follow in like manner and join him. In addition, through physical death we follow him to a new life, complete with a new home — a home made and prepared for us by our Savior.Understanding this truth means we can take on the same view of death as the disciples, that death is nothing to panic over but rather something hopeful. It is for this very reason I was able to turn to the woman next to me on the plane to comfort her. My soul was prepared for physical death, and my mind kept recounting the words of Paul, "To live is Christ, to die is gain" (Philippians 1.23). I asked the woman if she held any religious beliefs and shared with her quickly the gospel. The plane set down normally accompanied by the whine of reversed engines and the cheers and applause of the passengers. Shortly after becoming a believer, a friend of mine was asked by a co-worker we Christians didn't just commit suicide if Heaven was such a great place. it's a valid question. The Catholic Church teaches that suicide is a mortal sin, and that all who commit such a tragic act are bound for hell. Thankfully that teaching is found nowhere in Scripture. There are too many people facing clinical depression or on medications that increase suicidal thoughts and tendencies who take that step do to know fault of their own to justify such a harsh punishment. No, the blood of Christ can cover all sin one may commit. The truth is we remain in the body because we love God, and we trust in his plan and direction for our lives. As Paul said, to live is Christ. There is far too much work to do, faith to be lived, and people to reach out to in our capacity as ambassadors of the Kingdom for us to entertain such selfish actions. We remain to serve the God we love and the people who need his love. That's what Jesus did, and if we call ourselves his followers then that's what we do too.