I am a teenager with a serious problem. I am afraid of dying. I have been this way for many years, but instead of getting better, it has gotten worse. A few days ago I was thinking about this fear, and it got so bad I started to tremble: all of this is because I have a premonition that I will die soon.
I know that I’m very young to think this way, but I can’t find any way at all to get over this fear. Please tell me what to do, because I am desperate. I haven’t been able to sleep, and not a day goes by without thinking about this.
We are sorry to hear about your distress. You are right: It is unusual for someone your age to be so preoccupied with dying. It is more common for teenagers to think that they are going to live forever.
Something that you have experienced in your life, maybe something years ago, got stuck in your brain and won’t go away. Possibly someone in your family died young. The more you try to ignore the thoughts, the stronger they get. The premonition of your own early death is only a result of these dominating thoughts.
Death represents the unknown, and most people are uncomfortable with it. Popular movies and television shows portray their writers’ opinions about what may happen after death, but that is a lot of fantasy invented for entertainment purposes. The subject of angels and demons is also popular, and many people have formed opinions about whether they exist and, if so, whether they exist only in the afterlife or how they might intercept the lives of the living. Every time you hear or see or read about these subjects, the negative thoughts are rekindled.
The Bible has a lot to say about death and the afterlife, and I choose to believe that it is all true. It doesn’t give me all the answers that I would like to have, but it tells me enough to take away the fear and to give me peace. Jesus, the Son of God Himself, said, “It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.”1
Jesus clearly stated that He is preparing a place for us to come and join Him. Later He said that to be able to go with Him, we must accept that He is the way that will get us into Heaven. When we ask Him to forgive our sins and to be our Savior and Master, then He promises to take us to that better place when we die.
Because I have asked Jesus to take away all my sins, and because I have given Him authority in my life, I know that I will go to Heaven when I die. This confidence takes away the fear of the unknown.
Maybe you don’t believe in the Bible or in Jesus. If that is the case, then I suggest that you go to a medical doctor right away and tell him about your fears. You may need medication to keep the thoughts of death and the unknown from dominating your thinking.
I wish you the peace that I have found,
1 Jn 14:2b-3 (Phillips)