Perhaps our greatest fear is of dying. I have noticed many articles and books lately on “near-death” experiences; it seems people are more interested than ever in facing this fear. The greatest illustration I have ever heard on the subject is by Dr. Leslie Weatherhead.
It concerns a baby in a prenatal state. The baby is up under his mother’s heart, well fed and happy; he likes it there. Suppose, then, that someone would say to that baby, “You’re not staying here. You are going to be born.” And he would learn that, by being born, he would leave this warm, secure place. That would not be “being born” to him. That would be dying, for dying is an end.
Of course, the baby would say, “I don’t want to be born; I don’t want to die. I like it here; I’m happy and content.” But there comes a day when he is born, or from his viewpoint, he dies out of that place and is born into our world.
What happens then? The baby feels warm, tender, loving hands gently holding him. He sees a wondrous face, full of love, looking down upon him.
As he grows from infancy to childhood and to adulthood, the future stretches bright before him. Then the years begin to add up. His hair becomes white and his form a bit feeble. He knows he will one day die, will leave this place, and will go away to another place.
Of course he protests, “I don’t want to die. I like it here. I love to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, the cold of snow, the smell of rain. Life is good. I don’t want to leave.” But one day, he does die to this world.
What happens next? Isn’t it reasonable to expect that his best friend, Jesus, will be there to reach out with great loving hands and look down upon him with infinitely loving eyes? The man will look around him and be breathless with all the wonder and beauty he sees. Every fear will disappear and ever tear will be wiped dry. Then this man will say,
“Why was I so afraid of this thing called death, when, as I now see, it is life!”
The nature of Jesus never changes. He is the “same yesterday, and today, and forever”. (Hebrews 13:8)