5 Ways to Comfort the Fear of Death with Our Faith

Updated Jun 28, 2024
5 Ways to Comfort the Fear of Death with Our Faith

What do we say in the face of someone who is battling with the fear of dying? Explore five ways to face the fear of death with our faith through the following true story ...

I can hear her cries from my room. I immediately stop what I’m doing and check things out. She’s the oldest, having just turned thirteen a couple of weeks ago, which means these tears hold more power than a scratch or small inconvenience like they would for her younger brothers. They mean something is wrong and most likely that she needs me. 

Before I make it to her room, we meet in the hallway. Through glossy eyes and breaths that are hard to catch, she asks for my help. She tells me she needs to talk, something I already knew– mothers have a sense for this kind of thing. 

We sit down, and she sobs, “I’m afraid to die. I’m afraid to get cancer like Memeré. I’m afraid, Mom. And more than anything, I’m scared that this will all end with nothingness.

I don’t have time to respond creatively or at length. I’ll have to respond with heart, quickly, and without a trial run. 

Photo Credit:  ©GettyImages/LSOphoto

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1. Lead with Love

I think of all of the scripture that holds the comfort to her fears. I think of God’s promises that tell her there will never be ‘nothingness,’ only eternity. I think of the foundation of our faith, which explains that the body must return to dust and that death is only the beginning of eternal life and perfection. 

In looking at her and taking this moment in, I know that right now, she needs her mother, not scripture or reminders of her faith. She needs a mother who will sit with her in her fears as much as in her celebratory moments. She needs a mother who will listen intently to the worries in her heart and the fear in her mind. She needs sincere and authentic silence, acknowledging the whirlwind in her brain.

We sit together, her in tears, me in a stoic yet honest calmness. I listen. I wipe away her tears. I tell her that everything she feels is ok. I explain how grateful I am that she can let me in on these delicate feelings and questions. I give her a kiss and then tuck her in bed once she is calm. I head to my office, and I write her this:

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Overwhelmed mom praying

2. Remember God's Promise of Eternal Life

Dear Daughter,
You are my everything, which means there is no chance for ‘nothingness’—not for you or anyone else who knows and trusts God. A mother’s promises and love are bold and unwavering; the only thing more powerful and divine are the promises and love of God. 

It is common to deal with bouts of fear and anxiousness. It is common to have questions about life and death and to be curious about faith. It’s even ok to be inquisitive about God. You’ll find most of what you need in scripture and what you can’t find there, ask in prayer. You have your family to help you create a faith and knowing that is stable, but that comes with time, age, and experience. It comes with pain and heartbreak, things you luckily don’t have much experience with quite yet, thankfully. Through trials and tribulations, you learn the steadfast ways of God. You learn what you’re made of. Romans 6:23 tells us that. 

“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

In case you don’t fully know the meaning of eternal, it means endless and everlasting. It’s the opposite of nothingness. It’s everythingness– forever. Remember that in your weakest moments, breathe in this beautiful truth. 

These profound words tell us, 

"If you put your faith in Jesus, you will spend eternity in heaven.” 

It’s one of the promises that helped your grandmother enter her final days without worry about what was to come. She was certain heaven was ready and waiting for her. One day, my hope is that we’ll all be as faithful as she was in our belief in this promise. 

One day, you’ll gain confidence and hope in eternal life with the Lord, just like your Memeré.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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3. Trust God with Your Whole Heart

When you’re anxious, and I’m not around, lean on Proverbs 3:5. It has always helped me; in fact, it’s delicately tied to my life as it matches the month and day I was born. I’ve always felt that wasn’t a coincidence but a constant reminder of a truth I’d need to carry me through. It says,

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” 

You may not see it, but I’m an anxious soul, too. I’m an imperfect human, always seeking betterment and learning. These words have helped alleviate anxiety over life’s choices and unknowns and instead put my entire faith in God, knowing He will always steer me in the right direction. 

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Mom with adult daughter walking on the beach.

4. Define Faith: Believing in What We Cannot See

Please know that it’s not always easy to lean into things you can’t always see.  It’s not always easy to have patience and trust in a plan that is not your own. In fact, it’s hard. Remember, though, that hard is not impossible. You were made for a purpose and reason, and you have spaces already created for you both here and in heaven. Certain things in life are impossible to fully comprehend and internalize– love, life, and faith are some of them. Our minds can’t begin to fathom the infinite glory of those things.

So you see, beautiful daughter, there is no need to worry about death, disease, or nothingness, but if you do, remind yourself of these powerful words. Ground yourself in Him and the hope and beauty of life and death and the unknowns of this earthly body and mind. There is light and comfort all around. I love you forever. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Dean Mitchell

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5. Questioning Death Can Remind Us of Our Purpose

I finish my letter and place it on her vanity for her to see when she wakes. I know it’s one she will probably need to read again and again through the years, which is why I wrote it. I’ve learned with age and experience, and especially with grief, that faith can be challenged by big moments, by fear-based moments, and especially by moments that you find simple answers are hard to come by. There were years after losing my mother. I feared my faith was fickle, nonexistent even. Through time, I learned that it was always there, waiting for me to find it again and for my soul to accept the hope and promises that had been there all along. 

Faith sits there, waiting for us, knowing we’ll be back, knowing we’re only momentarily bewildered. God reigns above, knowing that we’re imperfect and we’ll have questions and moments of weakness, loving us always, in our entirety. Heaven waits for our new beginning when this life is over— a new beginning without end, one with Him.

Tonight, I’ll take an intentional look at how I display my faith, hope, and love. I’ll use my daughter’s worries to boldly live so that all of these things are evident to her, and the answers she’s searching for will be found both in scripture and her mother’s daily activities. 

My hope is that my legacy for my children is to have built a foundation of faith that is as mighty and endless as my love for them—never withered by worry or dissipated by fear. It is always, forever, constant—just like Him and His promises. 

Hope and Harsh Realities Book

Chelsea OhlemillerChelsea Ohlemiller is an author and speaker passionate about raising awareness of grief’s impact on life and faith. She has an active and engaging social media presence and is well-known for her blog, Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities. Her first book, “Now That She’s Gone,” will be released in August. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three children, who are the driving force behind all that she does.

Hope and Harsh Realities Book

Originally published Tuesday, 28 May 2024.