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Delivered from Deathophobia

Almost everybody is afraid of something. Comedian Rita Rudner exposes a universal fear among men. She says, "All men are afraid of eyelash curlers. They don't understand them and they don't want to be near them. I sleep with one under my pillow, instead of a gun." Rita may have something there. One thing is for sure — fear is a factor for millions of people. The October 12, 2004, issue of The Tennessean newspaper carried an article by Linda Stahl under this title: "From spiders to storms, phobias affect millions." In the article Stahl noted, "A phobia is a fear that's run amok. It is completely out of proportion to the perceived threat. But the symptoms are real: sweating, rapid heart rate, poor motor control and elevated blood pressure. Even nausea. The phobic person's discomfort and anxiety is so great that he avoids situations that involve the object of his phobia." Stahl goes on to write that there are a lot of folks with phobias, noting that The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 11.5 million Americans suffer from them. Phobias range from ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) to musophobia (fear of mice) to homichlophobia (fear of fog) to ergasiophobia (fear of work) to pogonophobia (fear of bears) to gamophobia (fear of marriage) to gephyrophobia (fear of crossing a bridge) to claustophobia (fear of confmed spaces ) to peladophobia (fear of baldness and bald people) to chaetophobia (fear of hairy people) to phobophobia (fear of being afraid!).

Necrophobia is the fear of dead bodies or death itself. Untold millions suffer from this fear, a fear I refer to as "deathophobia." You won't hear it discussed in any of the modern secular medical magazines or on TV specials, but the Bible points to a very specific reason why people die. Death is the direct and inevitable result of sin (see Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12; 6:23, etc.). Though we deny death, ignore it, minimize it, euphemize it, and in general seek to evade it, man is, in general, haunted by its constant threat. Buried in the far corners of our minds, we never completely escape the thought that moment by moment we are getting closer and closer to death and the grave. Hebrews 2:15 uses graphic and vivid language to note man's fear of death when it says "through fear of death [humans] were all their lifetime subject to bondage." In this verse of Holy Writ man is pictured as a powerless slave against the master of death! Before it all must bow. Against it no tool or device of human brains or brawn can prevail. And because of it there is dread and fear. But wait. The article referenced earlier noted a phobia "is completely out of proportion to the perceived threat." Is our fear of death out of proportion to the threat? Hebrews 2:14-15 reveals that by becoming a man and experiencing death, Jesus defeated death and the devil and released us from this fear! Jesus described Himself as the one who has the keys of Hades and of Death (Revelation 1:18). Men still fear death. But since the day Jesus rose from the dead, that fear has been completely out of proportion to the actual threat. Hallelujah! Jesus delivers from deathophobia!!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ