Thanotophobia affects many millions around the world. It is the term used to describe the anxiety and persistent fear of one’s mortality. It’s not just about the fear of death, but anything death related.
Death is something that many of us don’t really talk about or like to consider. We either push the thought of our own departure from this life out of our minds, or on the other extreme fixate upon death, and what that means and how it will happen. The fear of death can cause people to live fearfully. The News, reports of sickness, others dying, and disasters either at home or around the world can cause people to feel very anxious, stealing their peace and joy.
Jesus taught us why He had no fear of death. He said, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10:18) God has an appointed time, place and reason when everyone will die. The Lord’s ways are perfect. Jesus warned people not to fear physical death, but spiritual death that would separate them from God for eternity. Jesus prescribed a cure for the fear of death when He said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) Jesus wants all of us to enjoy spiritual life, so that we will have no fear of physical death.
Paul the apostle often had close encounters with death. He was stoned several times, and lived with his life under threat. But he discovered something which gives hope when we consider our life, and also our departure from this world. It encourages us to no longer fear what may happen, because not even death can separate us from the love of God.
Paul wrote, “In in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Paul discovered that the way to overcome the fear of death is to know that once a person is a believer in Jesus they no longer need to fear death, since their future is eternally secure. (John 6:37;10:28-29).
That’s also why David in the bible, said that he had nothing to fear when He wrote Psalm 23. “Even in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. David’s life was also under constant threat of death as King Saul sought to kill him. David understood that “if God is for him, who could be against Him” (Romans 8:31).
However there is much to fear from death if we don’t know and accept the gift of forgiveness and salvation that Jesus offers. Jesus himself said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of he One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
God loves every person, and desires that none should perish or suffer. He invites everyone to accept his gift of eternal life, and freedom from the fear of death. But He won’t force people to know or live with Him for eternity. That’s our choice. But once we choose to have Jesus in our life, there is nothing; no man, women, sickness, disaster, neither the present nor the future that will be able to separate us from God. We can live peacefully knowing that no matter what happens our relationship with Jesus cannot be severed. Heaven is for real, eternity is for real, and God’s promises to us are for real.
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. ‘In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, (there) you may be also. (John 14:2-4)
Today know that God loves you. When you know Him, you don’t need to fear death anymore. Think upon His great love for you, and that nothing can separate you from that love, not even death. Know that He knows the number of your days on earth; He chooses the time when you will go to be with Him forever in Heaven. He promises that He has good things planned in advance for you to do, and He desires to prolong your life, and bring you peace, prosperity, and a hope and a future. (Proverbs 3:1-2).
If you aren’t sure of your future, and whether you will go to heaven when you die; If you live with the fear of death, then I invite you to pray this prayer, and to mean it with all your heart.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask his forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience). Please forgive me. I now turn from everything I know is wrong.
Thank you that you died on the cross for me so that I could be forgiven and set free.
Thank you that you offer me forgiveness and the gift of your Holy Spirit. I now receive that gift, and freedom from the fear of death.
Please come into my life by your Holy spirit to be with me forever.
In Jesus name Amen.