I have personally never felt the total lack of fear about death that Paul demonstrates in his personal reflections as he faces his possibly imminent death in prison (verses 21-26). Clearly he is not afraid of death; in fact he sees it as the preferred outcome. But at the same time he finds a reason to hope that he will survive, to support his friends at Philippi.
In August 2016, our congregation helped a refugee family of seven emigrate from Africa to Canada. I am certain that they hoped that their new life would be better than living in a refugee camp; at the same time they had virtually no idea what life in Canada would be like. Can you imagine the trust and courage it must have required to leave everyone and everything they had ever known to make the journey?
As people of faith, we can approach our deaths with similar trust and courage. We do not know for certain what is on the other side of death’s doorway and so we may be fearful. But we trust that the same loving God who has been with us through our lives will be with us in death and beyond.
God of life and death, give us the courage to face our mortality. Amen. — JN