Have you ever seen a large shadow of something that looks kind of scary? Sometimes you can't figure out what's creating the shadow, but all you can see is a massive shadow on the wall or ground around you. You might feel like running for help even though there's not an actual reason to run. When you see what is casting those huge shadows, the reality behind the shadow isn't very scary at all.
There's a big shadow that has bothered all of us at one time or another. To be honest, it can be a pretty scary shadow. You see that shadow sometimes when you're in the doctor's office, when you have a close call, or when you've been to the funeral of someone you know. It is, of course, the shadow of death.
The great Jewish king, David, wrote about that shadow in what may be the best known psalm in the Bible, Psalm 23. In the fourth verse of that psalm, he says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. The You, of course, is the one David talks about at the beginning of his psalm - The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. When his loving Shepherd leads him out of this life and into what he calls the house of the Lord forever, he will have nothing to fear.
Many folks don't have that kind of peace and confidence about what happens on the other side of their last heartbeat. Maybe you don't. For you, the thought of death and what may be beyond it is more than just a shadow; it's an unsettling, even frightening, reality. Should we be fearful about death and what's beyond? It all depends on where you stand with the God who you'll meet on the other side. In a sense, the only thing to fear about death is God.
We're afraid of God, and maybe we should be afraid of God because of the wrong things we've done. He knows every person you've hurt, every lie you've told, every sin you've committed, every promise you've broken, every selfish or immoral thought or deed, and every dark secret of your life. There's no way you can get into His heaven with your sin; it would ruin heaven.
There is some awesome good news for us in Hebrews 2:14-15. God tells us that Jesus Christ died on a cross to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Jesus actually absorbed all the guilt and all the hell of your sin when He died on the cross, which means you can be forgiven for every sin of your life. The Bible says that when you put your trust in Jesus to be your personal rescuer from your personal sin, your sins are erased from God's book and your name is entered in His Book of Life - those who are going to heaven when they die. The shadow doesn't have to scare you anymore!