Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
A friend of ours had a heart attack and died twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. The paramedics revived him; he survived and is doing well today. He believes that God allowed him to live so that he can tell people not to be afraid of death. While some people with near death experiences describe a light or seeing loved ones, our friend says he only remembers an intense peace. He felt a comfort and serenity so strong that he can hardly verbalize it. He now makes it his mission to reassure those around him about their inevitable future and that there is nothing to fear when you know Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. While riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the motorcycle behind my husband, I felt a surprising sense of calmness as well. Sometimes, I am afraid on the motorcycle, but many of my triggers, cars, trucks, narrow roads or steep drop offs were not present. While the parkway is high in the mountains, in most places the road is surrounded by wide meadow or forest. There were a few times that we could see almost straight down, but in those instances, strong guardrails gave me a sense of security. There were two times that I did feel terrified. Once, when my husband rounded a corner, and we leaned far to the side. His foot slipped off the foot peg and slid along the road as we wobbled furiously. I said one curse word, followed by a prayer (if I prayed first, I would not need to curse) while my husband regained control and straightened the bike. The other time was when we were behind a slow line of cars and motorcycles, and he decided to pass. He wisely waited for a long stretch of straight road. Yet, when he accelerated and pulled out into the opposite lane, all the traffic sped up as well. Very quickly, he used up the road allotted for passing, and we were back to a section of double yellow lines. Worse, a car appeared on the horizon heading straight for us. A motorcycle rider to our right refused to yield, and it looked as though there was no place for us to go but head on into the car or directly down the center of the road between the motorcycle and the car. I cursed twice that time before I closed my eyes and prayed. Only by God’s grace and my husband’s skill did we avoid an accident as he pushed the bike faster around the motorcycle and back into our lane. I had only a split second to think about dying, but I remembered my friend’s words, and it was comforting. How about you? Death may be just around the next corner. When it comes will you be afraid or at peace? I confess sometimes my first thought is fear, but when I really think about it, I know God will walk me through it.