If I am being honest with you, reader, I have been dealing with something I haven’t been able to put into words. Until this afternoon, I hadn’t been able to get the words to roll off my tongue, or through my fingers onto my computer screen.
I am afraid of death.
Death is something I have experienced a lot of. And although I have found peace in knowing that my loved and lost ones are now dancing in the arms of my Lord, something kept eating away at the back of my heart.
I want to start out with a story. Above is one of my best friends, Addy. She is beautiful and kind and smart and daring. When she sent me a picture of her most recent tattoo a few months ago, I was horrified. The large bee she placed on her forearm was a tattoo she hadn’t told me she was planning on getting and at first, I had no idea what it meant.
“A dad and his son are driving in a car when the son starts freaking out and screaming because there is a bee in the car and he is deathly allergic to the bee. The dad reaches up and grabs the bee, and then lets it go. The son starts screaming again and the dad holds up his hand to show his son the stinger in it. The dad says, ‘Son, there is no reason for you to be afraid anymore. It is just like how Christ took the sting of death for us, and there is no reason for us to be afraid of dying because we as believers get to spend eternity with Him.'”
My relationship with Jesus has been something I continue to work on. It is something I haven’t found very easy. Vices keep me from Him. They weaken my relationship with Him and although I believe in Him wholeheartedly and find my strength in Him, the fear that I do not believe “enough” or love “enough” puts the fear of God into me.
And then I started meditating on that saying; “the fear of God.” I asked myself what that really meant. Because I don’t believe in a fearful God. I believe in a just, loving, fair God who governs over his people with Grace and forgiveness.
It hit me that it isn’t God that I am afraid of. It is the absence of God that terrifies me.
The losses I have experienced and remember vividly have been abrupt. They have been unexpected, confusing and they have seemed wrong. They haven’t seemed just or loving or fair. And I can’t even begin to pretend like I know why those people were taken. For their protection or to save another life? Were they to bring people to Christ or to warn others that each day isn’t promised to any of us? Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe.
These losses are something I have written about many times and have impacted me more than I probably realize even now. But I don’t think God intended me, or any of us, to spark doubt in Him as a result. I do believe our individual vices make it easy to confuse these kinds of losses and turn them into doubt.
God is not fearful. Death is not fearful. It is the things that keep Him from us that evoke the fear. And that’s what we must struggle with and commit to battle.
Here’s to the bees.