I am not afraid to die.
A bold (and rather strange) statement to open up a blog post with, but I feel like if I type it out, it will be more real to me. Because if we’re being honest here, our human self IS afraid, in some degree, to die. It’s a natural instinct to keep our bodies alive. We are designed for survival; we will do anything to survive. It is incredibly humbling and difficult to be able to voice fearlessness in dying. But this past week, I have been hit in the face with death. It has been looming in every thought I have. I get on Facebook, and I feel like almost every other day, someone is passing away. I can’t stop thinking about death; it is depressing me, it is scaring me, and I feel like it is creeping up on me. Sometimes I feel so sick to my stomach because I can’t help but think, “Who’s next? Who will death win over next?” I have never felt this way before in my life, and I’m not even sure how to express it.
But this week, I have grasped the reality of dying. And let me tell you this…it is beautiful.
I believe that the Kingdom of heaven and earth are intertwined. I believe that the Kingdom of God is with the poor and with the homeless and with the people living in poverty and in the places where the rich dare not enter. That is where the Kingdom of God is. Right now. Right this very second. And when we live alongside those people, we see that. We see the Kingdom of God. And when we die, we see the same thing, but in a new way. Whatever passion you love to do that brings about social justice, restoration, reconciliation, peace, harmony, love, etc. is what you will CONTINUE to do in heaven. It doesn’t end here on earth, guys. There was a young woman who passed away a few days ago from cystic fibrosis. She was a missionary in Uganda with one of the biggest hearts for Christ I have ever witnessed. She loved children more than anyone I have ever heard about. Her family wanted her to come home earlier for treatment, but she said she couldn’t because she felt like she wasn’t done with what God wanted her to do there. When she was finished, she went home. A few days later, she passed away. And you want to know what I think she’s doing right now in the Kingdom of heaven? Playing with children and holding them and laughing with them. She is carrying them around and running in beautiful fields that are endless. She is dancing with them and feeding them never ending food.
You see, her passion never ended when she left this earth. It continued in greater amounts than we can ever think possible. The kingdom of heaven and earth are intertwined. The people who are working about to bring restoration and social justice, and who are working to end racism, and who are living with the poor, and who are rescuing children out of armies, and who are putting an end to human trafficking, and who are doing everything they can to bring peace in the midst of violence and war, and the people who are feeding those who need fed, and to the people who are giving the homeless a home, those people will continue to do that passion in heaven because IT DOES NOT END HERE.
We have a tendency to think that when we die, it’s all over. There’s nothing left for us. I’m here to tell you that we were wrong, guys. When we die, it’s not over. It is just the beginning.
But before we can come to this understanding, we have to embrace the fact that one day, we are going to die. And we must not be afraid of death, because it is not something to fear.
My prayer for you is that you figure out the fearlessness in death, and that when your time comes, you die in the Kingdom, for there is no greater honorable death.
Thank you, Alicia Halpenny, for inspiring me through your love and passion for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in Uganda. You touched more people’s lives than you know. Until we meet one day in heaven.