Faith Shaken

Your questions and comments are as follows: Lately I have been somewhat preoccupied with death-I can't seem to get the dreary subject matter out of my head. Specifically, I have been worrying about what seems like the possibility that there is no life after death. I have been terrified by the notion that there might be nothing for us when we die: no reunification with Christ or our beloved people and pets, and no everlasting love from our Maker.
I am a recovered alcoholic and due to God's grace I have been reborn both spiritually and in a sense, physically. As a result of my sobriety I sense time's lapse more acutely in my life, and I am concerned that I might have squandered my chance to accomplish something meaningful in this life. I am constantly bombarded by atheistic ideology in the media and combined with my fears about lapsing time I have anxiety attacks especially at night concerning death. My faith is shaken to the core when I ponder death. Can you help me out?

As I read your email I was saddened by the thought that your Faith might be shaken. It appears that Satan is working overtime on your psyche as the following verse warns us.

1 Peter 5:6-9 “ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” What we see at night is often darker than in the day, especially since it is quiet with no distractions and we are still to think. I have been very anxious at times at night and have employed various techniques to help:

1) Pray Psalm 42:10 “Be still and know that I am God”…over and over each time worries come to mind such as death, and give it to God. Another effective verse is: 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2) Or/and pray Psalm 23 repeatedly, and Psalm 63:6-8 talks about meditating on God in our bed at night.

3) Or get up and read your favorite chapters in the book of John or other Psalms

4) Because I also have painful arthritis and am allergic to most meds, I sometimes take an Ativan for insomnia and anxiety. You and your doctor should be able to figure out what is best for you.

5) Never watch the news or any dark program before bedtime. I watch a short comedy and then read something spiritual before lights out.

Because I did not come to know Jesus until I was 40, I also feel I have very little time to give back to the LORD. Fortunately His Word, the Bible reassures us that our main work is to believe, to love and TRUST in Him. He will provide each opportunity for us to worship, (work for Him), if we are willing and eager to serve, in any way. Micah 6:8 says:” He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.” What could be more meaningful to your life?

Jesus knows our hearts. Paradox lies at the very heart of life’s mystery. What we strive for can often be what we least need. What we “fear most can turn out to be our greatest blessing.” Just because we exist, we have meaning and purpose. The Bible is a book of 7000 promises from God to us. Explore to find them. Some recommended, wonderful readings include Psalm 46, 2 Cor 5 which speaks about being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, Revelations 21:1-7 and Rev. 7:9-10 and 16-17 talks about no more death, pain or sorrowWOW!, Hebrews 11:1-3, Psalm 32:7-11, Psalm 145:14-21, Romans 8:35-39 that says death will not separate us from Christ, Psalm 90:12-17 tells us to number our days which does not mean that we live in dread, fearing death, but that we live with joy and gratitude making the most of every precious day. That kind of living is God’s wisdom. Also,1 Peter 1:3-9, Psalm 18:1-6 and 16-17 talks about the snares of death, Psalm 62:5-8.

Life is a gift…Now, in changing your life, you are reborn in a new form. Do not lose hope and keep your soul and heart pure. (Phil 4:8 -9 …” whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in Jesus, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” The outcome depends on how we choose to react to our crisis. Jesus once said, ”Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” And PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Phil 4:6-7 says to “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Also, Proverbs 15:29 says,” The Lord is far from the wicked,

But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

God’s amazing grace is giving us “the gift of faith.” It is not something that we are generating by our own effort or in our own strength. It is a gift. The real, biblical, healthy, miracle-working faith is never a matter of denial. It is a matter of declaration. Young David did not have to deny the size of the giant Goliath, he just declared that God was greater. Daniel did not have to deny the presence of the lions in the lion’s den, he just declared that God was greater. And you don’t have to deny the physical death; you just need to declare that God is greater! 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 states, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Our confidence is in our Savior. “Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is seen is eternal.

As for worrying that there is no life after death, Jesus, God the Son declares otherwise many times in His Word; our only ‘work’ is to trust Him. John 14:1-4 states:

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions;if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. I also believe that my animals will be with me in heaven since animals such as birds and horses are mentioned in Rev 19:17,21, and 11 and in other verses.

Remember what Jesus said in Matt 24:10-13: At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

So we must keep our focus on Jesus and hold onto His promises of goodness, faithfulness, power, and love. Psalm 118 says,”This is the day that the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Live it and give it for the glory of God. And, don’t forget that my story, like yours, has a really happy ending! …And even the ending will only be the beginning!!

I know I said a lot, but the GOOD BOOK is REALLY GOOD!

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