The recent news articles stating that the death toll had surpassed 100,000, the highest number of deaths in the pandemic, was both shocking and distressing. Over one hundred thousand people have lost their lives as a result of the Covid-19 virus in the UK. As I read through the news article, I thought about a loved one in hospital and how this number applied to them. I am not the type of person to admit feelings aloud especially ones that bring sadness. Therefore, I did not want to admit to my fear of losing them. But with numbers that high, I started to feel an internal panic that I might not see them again.
The fear of death in a pandemic
This pandemic has brought to the surface unimaginable fears that were once fleeting thoughts. The possibility of losing a loved one is now proportionately higher than usual as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. As daily reports announce how many people have died, with numbers in the thousands, it is normal to become numb to the values on our screen, if we are not directly affected, ‘another death,’ ‘another daily tally’, ‘another statistic’. On the other hand, if we have a loved one suffering, these numbers can spark and ignite fear in us; the fear of death.
The fear of death is a prominent reality in our lives today. The worry, panic, dread that you may not speak to your loved one the next day, hear their voice or see their face. It’s a daunting experience. One that many are experiencing right now. As I write this article, my father is in hospital. I don’t think I have ever thought about losing my parents. A little passing thought but nothing tangible to cause the kind of fear I feel now. Death is very real, and for the first time, it is at the door of my family and I was not prepared for it.
Death is not the end, we have a sure future
Many, thousands, millions of people have lost family members and friends over the last year. And there are millions of others who have family members in a similar situation to my own. The waiting and praying for good news. Holding tightly to the last ounce of faith as the statistics and doctors share one more heart-shattering piece of information. It hurts, it stings but death has no more victory. The truth remains, despite what is happening in this pandemic, God is on the throne. And death was defeated at Calvary.
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?1 Corinthians 15:55
We must understand how victorious we are even in the deepest parts of our despair. Death is no more the victor over sin, Christ is. The power of death was defeated on the cross when Christ died and rose again (Romans 6:7-9). We can feel better with talking about and dealing with death as Christians because of the victory we have over death through Christ. We cannot be afraid of a battle that has already been won (1 Corinthians 15:57). Christ won this battle with His death and resurrection.
Faith over fear
This situation is happening right now, and I am choosing faith. I am choosing Christ as my hope. I am choosing to believe in the faith that my father showed me. Every day I pray that Gods will be done. That is the scariest prayer to pray because His will might not be what we want. His will might be that my father does not come home and we have to be ok with that. For every believer in Christ, death signifies the transition to the eternal (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). We leave this life and await the continuation with Christ in the next (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Death is not the end. Christians have a unique disposition when they utter this statement with confidence. It is not a false endearment or empathy but rather a truth with a foundation in our salvation story.
The fear of losing someone can paralyse us in our faith but God is still in control. We may never get over death. Death is a factor of human existence and happens every day, however, in this pandemic, it is occurring more frequently. We must not allow this to frighten us out of our faith. Our faith is in the immovable, Almighty, all-powerful God who never changes, from now and to eternity.
When we are faced with the fear of death or the worry of losing a loved one, let us remember Jesus’ sacrifice. Remember the truth of what Christ did on the cross for us and the hope we now have in Him. We can have hope in life despite our fears. We have hope in God who gives us life and sustains us to enjoy the life we have been given.
Even when the numbers terrify us, what God has said in His word should steady us with the firm foundation of Christ to trust in. The One that will not be shaken.