“Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” (1 Samuel 31:4)
Shakespeare wrote, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.” It is terrible to be in the grip of fear. Fear has torment. Saul pictured what the Philistines would do to him. He could not bear the thought. He preferred to kill himself.
There are so many situations in life that we dread to face. We would rather “kill” ourselves with alcohol, drugs, or any other means of escape than have to encounter the thing we fear. And so we develop a habit of retreat. Instead of facing the giants in the land, we run to safety. But eventually, we die in a wilderness where we have failed to realize the promises of God in our life. He could have enabled us to overcome, but the fear of death held us in bondage.
No, what you will have to endure may not be pretty. Crosses never are. But you are called to take it up, and with the courage of your Master, carry it to death. He died once, but we are to die daily. Let us not fear the pain and suffering that are inevitable, not just at the moment of physical death, but all throughout life.
Our God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind. Arm yourself with the mind of Christ who suffered in the flesh. Courageously face death, and life, through Him.