I use to sit on dead people

I use to sit on dead people. A lot. Some days, it would be a dozen different dead people. I drove to different cities doing this. This went on for a number of years

I would be paid to sit on these dead people, too. I had a monument engraving business. I would go into cemeteries, sit down over the graves, set up my tools, and etch inscriptions on the grave stones.

People would ask me if it was ever unsettling working in cemeteries. For some reason, it never bothered me. Being alone in a cemetery, before sun rise or after dark at times, never freaked me out. A couple of times I even arrived at the grave site soon after the funeral, before the grave was closed, and had to stand on the casket to engrave the monument.

Shot through with fear

The past few years, though, there have been times I have thought about death and been shot through with fear. I had a spot of skin cancer removed. It was not a big deal. I have a nice scar on my back now. It initiated an awkward visit to Dr. Jim a couple of times a year when he looks over my skin. I will say, however, it does something when you get a call saying it is malignant. I had a new sensation that my body was not going to be my friend forever.

I wish I could say I have fewer fears now than when I started following Jesus. But I don’t. Even though I know Jesus better now and I have more reasons to trust him, I have to admit I battle more worries and am afraid at times when I think about what I might face in the future.

I hate pain. The thought of going through a long illness scares me. I fear becoming incapacitated mentally or physically and having to rely on others to take care of me, being a burden. I am afraid of Jamie or one of the girls getting sick and having to watch them suffer, let alone dealing with their death.

Then there are all the smaller worries, separate from those associated with that ultimate source of my fears. I can get burdened with the thought of school bills, repairs, retirement accounts, and my waist line. That doesn’t include the things people around me are going through. I have three friends whose children have cancer. Then like Paul I think, “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Cor 11:28).

There’s a line in the movie Facing the Giants about the phrase “Do not fear” appearing 365 times in the Bible. I think that’s where all the cutesy memes originated about God giving us a daily reminder to not be afraid. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Even accounting for a variety of phrasing, there are a little over 100.

To free us from fear

The reason death is so powerful at generating fear is it’s source is evil. The power of death is demonic. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Jesus shared in our humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” I may not have that meme to hold on to, but I am encouraged by that word “free.” That is a wonderful truth that Jesus came to free me from fear.

Most days I am free. I still get freaked out at times. When I’m reminded of the gospel and how Jesus turned death into a lie, fear loses its grip. It’s the only way to fight fear.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015