When Death Threatens
Last night I was jolted out of the security of my little world where time is hardly an issue and death an idea still too far away to grasp. The lady at Starbucks made my Mocha Valencia a little too strong. The effect was swift and vicious. In a matter of minutes I was feeling funny. My limbs went weak and trembly and there was a strange sensation creeping through my body and unto my head making me nervous and dizzy all at once. Before long, my neck starts to feel stiff and my heart extremely vulnerable. These symptoms are not new to me. They usually come after an episode of erratic heart rhythm. How that happens in the first place, I do not know. I've had it since my late teens. It comes without warning. And goes just as suddenly. Sometimes an attack last for just 10 mins but on worse days it could stretch for 24hrs or more. At the onset of an attack my heart would be beating at break neck speed and so hard you can see my shirt "beating" if you were standing beside. If it continues for longer than a few hours, the violent pumping would slowly fade to a soft flapping like those of feathers, so shallow I can hardly feel it if I were to press my palm against my chest. This is what I call the twilight stage, a rather serious stage, cos I'd start to break out in cold sweat, become breathless and weighed down with fatigue. I'd fall gravely silent, wanting to lie down and be left alone and not do anything else cos it'd be too much to even talk.
As I lay on my bed with all these sensations, I began to think of death. I once had a sudden and severe attck in the middle of the night accompanied by chest pains and almost called for an ambulance. Looking back I think it could have been a heart attack. I was afraid it might happen again last night. And what if it's critical this time? The more I think of that possibility the more fear had me. It got me started thinking about a lot of things. There are a thousand and one thing my family will be have to sort out and deal with. Death is messy business. My kids will be forced to grow up quickly before they have tasted childhood to the fullest. And it is true as they have always said, that nothing else will be as important to you as the people whose life has mingled with yours. It wakes you up to what really matters.
For the first time, I was really afraid. Everything that I know about the Christian afterlife flew out the window. Although I was more afraid of how it would affect my kids and my family than the fear of death itself, I did feel a certain curiosity and apprehension towards death I've never felt before. Sometimes we know all the facts only in our head. I know I'll be in a better place after death and my children's future will be in God's hand. In theory, I have nothing to fear...... but somehow I still do. Perhaps because I've never taken death seriously and therefore, not psychologically prepared. No Lord, I'm not ready to go. I want to live a long good life and see my children grow up, I whispered in prayer.
As minutes turned into hours, I decided to draw out a book of Bible promises from my bookshelf and search for the word "fear". I came to Psalm 91: 4-6 - the psalm of protection.
"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday."
I kept it running through my consiousness over and over again. Just then I remembered a song my church has written on the same psalm. I love that song. It always stirs up faith in me. Without hesitation, I pulled out my iPod, set it on repeat and let it run till I fall asleep. It alleviated my fears by keeping things in divine perspective. Fear always throws us out of balance. I experienced a deeper appreciation and gratitude for my salvation that night. I can't imagine what fear would be like without knowing if I'll be save in God's arms after death and that my children's destiny are in His loving hands. Nothing could be more comforting than knowing that my destiny and the destiny of my children are not in the hands of fate but in the hands of a loving God. Without this assurance, death would be so much more formidable. When I thank God for His gift of salvation last night, I meant it from the depth of my soul.
Psalm 91 (by New Creation Church)