I have never forgotten that day. The day when I asked the question and my mother didn’t really know how to answer me.

Have you ever been afraid?

I was lying in bed supposed to be going to sleep, younger than 9 years old (but not sure how much younger), when I decided to call her. In my memory it was not dark in the bedroom because she didn’t need to put the light on when she opened the door, so it must have been springtime or summertime when it stays lighter later in the evenings in Northern Ireland even up until 10pm.  So darkness had nothing to do with my fear.

It was a simple question I wanted to ask her but she did not find the answer so simple.

I was the youngest in the family, although in saying that there were only the two siblings, my sister and I, and she was 10 years older than me so I was always referred to as the wee one and often (I felt) not taken too seriously by my parents, sister and grandmother who lived with us.

You see that evening as I lay there I was afraid, there was something I just did not want to happen, something I could not imagine happening but I needed to know more about it. I was thinking about death, but it was not “death” that scared me. Possibly I wasn’t really old enough to consider how people died and that there may be tragic events or illnesses to lead up to their deaths because none of that was on my mind.

The fear I had was not about my body but about that part of me, that part inside, the part I could not imagine ever not being in existence. You know the part of me that was actually doing this thinking. The part that could experience this fear.  The part that could understand some things but not all things.

When I asked her what would happen to that part of me when I would die she was quiet with no immediate reply. Then she told me not to worry about anything to do with death because I was “too young” to be thinking about it.

Now I don’t remember all the details or how much time elapsed from then until the time when I knew I wanted/needed to get saved but I do know that my sister always got Bible notes to read each day and decided to get a children’s version so that she could read the Bible passage to me and then the notes.  To make sure that I was paying attention she would then ask me questions about the passage.  However even though she was taking care of a need I had to know about Jesus and read God’s Word, she also declared I was “too young” when I told her I wanted to get saved.

Thankfully I was not overcome by this fear of what would happen to what I felt was the “real me” after death, however it was always there drawing me in to ponder over it.

I may not even have known to pray about this, but God knew the “real me” and He was in control. Not too long after this He led me to the night when I was not told I was “too young” but instead, I was encouraged to pray asking forgiveness and accepting that Jesus had died in my place so that I could live.

I was afraid when I was young, but I didn’t remain afraid. God has taken that fear away.

I still do not understand everything about what it will be like after death. However, I have no need to fear because I know for a certainty that the “real me” will remain and be transformed in the presence of Jesus.

I came to realise that not all fear is bad.

We need to be thankful for the fear that leads us in the right direction.

Sandra Headshot for Blogging 200x200Sandra Black is a housewife currently living in Banbridge in the east of Northern Ireland. She has also lived in Delaware in the USA for 3 years and Tervuren (a village east of Brussels) in Belgium for over 6 years. Sandra has been married for 37 years to Fred who is very loving, patient & kind and she is also the mother of 3 grown up kids who laugh about how their mother lives on the computer. She enjoys reading, co-ordinating the Kids Work at her Church, experimenting with graphics and blogging at Sandra’s Ark.

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Holly Barrett

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