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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I had some really good questions asked me by my blog buddy Gary as to the underlying cause to my fears of death I so often have mentioned since this blogs inception. I wish i had readymade answers. I have a few reasons for the fear: pain at the event of dying, uncertainty as to what will happen after death,and just a feeling of loss over having it happen. These fears are construed in various ways because the deepest tug comes from a place where i am still very much a little boy who has lost his dad and now is unsure just how to come to grips with life and its sudden uncertainty.

I have always been both very analytical and detached from emotion and very much consumed internally by torrents of emotion all at once, which sounds like a contradiction but i think its more a paradox. I can grasp the reality of death occurring, both in a natural way as just part of the human existence and theologically, with the hope of resurrection. Emotion does not care to contemplate and reflect, emotion seeks to fight,fligbt or just be. I look for God to be consistently present in a clear way surrounding times of death and He is not. Some people claim to experience a wonderful sense of peace and calm as death nears, while others have no sensing of this peace and clutch to life until death just pulls them kicking and resisting the whole way. This experience is by believers too, there is not a solitary unified experience of dying by believers. Not so strange considering the vast diversity of experience all believers have of God and Jesus in life.

I have no clearcut answer about my fears because i think I have tried to just lay them out there and avoid them in a sense as well, hoping God would somehow just divinely wipe them away like a magic wand passing over me as i sleep so i wake up and all the fear is removed. I know my fears have lessened over time and sometimes it seems they are there because i just don't know how to accept letting them go. A part of me also has this idea that if i declare my fears are gone then something will happen to challenge that as being true and I will have to experience severe pain or even death just because I willingly let go of all my fear. Does that sound crazy to you or can you understand that reasoning???? Please let me know lol

The whole idea of fear is messed up as it is. God is love and knowing His love leads to removal of fear, so in the ways i let fear take hold of me, i am lacking a resting in His love.I don't want to be in that position and yet I find myself struggling with it. I have a difference between my understanding of Gods love and my actual experience of Gods love, as well as relating it to faith and obedience. Grace is a gift, Gods love is freely given and cannot be earned. But, and this is a HUGE but, the underlying message given by both calvinists and arminianists is that OUR performance, how WE respond to Gods grace by our faith & obedience, are what seal the deal!!!! This unspoken message is what has always caused the fears to exist in a kind of floating ambivalence. God gives me salvation with Him because He loves me and nothing i do can change or interfere with that. BUT, i better make sure I have a strong enough faith and obedience or i may be in for a stunning surprise come my departure from this life. See the dilemma???

I really hope to hear how this hits you. I am growing, tiny step by tiny step, to comprehend Gods grace and love in all its enormity more and more day by day. This post articulates what has been a genuine struggle. Very curious to hear what your experience has been.


At 11:06 PM, Blogger Gary Means said...

what would it look like to accept and embrace your fears? I'm not trying to play armchair counselor or anything. It's just the question that came to mind as I read your post.

I remember being asked by a mentor is I was willing to give my pain to God. My response was a joking, "Of course, I'm willing to give my pain away to God." I late experienced the giving of my pain to God. And it set me free and changed my life. In the course of life I have reclaimed some of that pain, but it is not the same.

When I told God I was willing to give Him my pain. He told me (no audible voice) that I had to experience it and embrace it, but that He would be there with me as I did. It did hurt to begin to feel all the things I had held at a distance, but it was also a cathartic experience.

What I did not realize when my mentor asked me that question was that I was holding on to my fear of pain and letting that totally dominate my life. So to give God my pain meant letting Him do whatever He wanted with my life, including my pain.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Becky said...

how u doin?

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Becky said...

don't make me come find you..:) just wondering how you are doing physically, emotionally and spiritually...

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Milly said...

Praying for you.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger karen said...

I get this Robert...and understand the "letting go" means you're gonna get hit by something big. It's like we get afraid to be happy because something is going to squash us back down. I'm thinking of you and waiting to hear how you are and when your procedure is.


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