/ Death / Bryan Schneider

Facing Death with Fear and Faith

As a child, I spent countless hours at the pool. One sunny afternoon, I impulsively dove through a friend's inflatable tube, getting trapped underwater. Panic surged as I struggled to breathe. Fear gripped my soul. Darkness seemed to encroach upon me. In that moment of sheer terror, I was saved by my step-dad. In a more palpable way Jonah knew the fear of death. Jonah was helpless and must have felt similarly as he was drowning in the sea.

The Fear of Death

Jonah was drowning. Darkness surrounded him. Seaweed clung to him. Would death enclose him forever? Was he locked in the place of the dead? There seemed no escape as he sank deeper. Fear, a primal instinct, gripped his heart. Jonah's experience is universal. Most of us fear the unknown abyss that seems to wait after death's veil.

Yet - Hope

Yet, there are glimmerings of hope in Jonah's despair. As darkness consumed him, a ray of hope somehow pierced through. Not a physical light, but a flicker of faith in the midst of despair. In both verses 4 and 6 of Jonah 2, the lament pauses abruptly with the word "Yet."

4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.

As death loomed, Jonah found hope. Hope that he couldn't conjure himself, a rescue beyond his reach. Jonah, though disobedient, became the object of a divine rescue mission.


The Lord had commissioned Jonah to preach to Nineveh. Yet, Jonah chose disobedience. The Lord, in his sovereign will, sent the wind and waves. Through these trials, the Lord sought to teach Jonah about his grace. The miraculous Lord, creator of heaven and earth, appointed a giant fish to swallow Jonah.

Wait, what? Could the Lord truly do that? Isn't that a strange coincidence? Isn't it too fantastical? Unexplainable?

Yes. Yes, it is.

When the Lord decides to act, nothing can stop him. He who made the seas and the dry land was determined to send his chosen messenger. The Lord would bend heaven and earth, even manipulating sea creatures, to accomplish his purposes.

Jonah's hope arrived in an unlikely form. The Lord, having saved him from drowning, had him swallowed by the large fish. Delivered from certain death, Jonah somehow found himself breathing. He knew that if the Lord had done this, he would somehow survive. God had delivered Jonah from death's grip.

Jonah moving from fear of death to hope penned the golden verse of the Old Testament:

"Salvation is of the Lord!"


We too are saved by God's sovereign grace. If we believe in Jesus Christ, we also have a "yet." As we face death, the ultimate enemy, we can have hope. We can have light pierce the darkness because Jesus conquered death for us. Jesus himself descended into the heart of the earth for three days and nights. He conquered sin as the firstborn from the dead. Jesus declared, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:25)

Even in the darkest hour, you can have hope. If you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, you need not fear death. You can be sure of deliverance because Jesus is alive.

Jesus reigns victorious over sin and death!

Take heart, the King lives!

Though we may die, Yet there is hope in Christ.

Bryan Schneider

Bryan Schneider

Husband to Olivia. Father of Nathan, Deborah, Daniel, & Ellie. Blessed to serve Sharon RP Church (sharonrpc.org). Loving Rural life.

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