He was seven years old and had been out of the hospital for about one month when he asked his Mom this question. He had spent a miserable and scary few days while the Doctors diagnosed his illness. The treatment was thought to be successful, but he would need heart tests every three months for a year. Something in all that led him to wonder what was really happening and if he was going to die.

I happened to be there and overheard him and it got me to thinking about how many times I have heard this same question. I have heard it vocalized, and I have seen it in the eyes of people who could not — or would not say it. I have heard it asked with different attitudes behind the question. I have asked it myself on a few occasions. I have learned that the meaning behind the question is the real concern. So here are a few of the underlying emotions behind the question.

1. Defiance. It is not so much a question as it is a challenge. The problem is that you will not win this contest. Death will. You may delay it, you may overcome amazing odds at a given moment… but sooner or later we all die. So the answer is yes and you cannot do anything about it.

2. Fear. Many people are afraid to die. Some are scared of what comes next. Is there life after the grave? What will that life be like for me? It is the fear of the unknown. I believe I do know what comes next. I believe there is life after death. There is life with God forever or life without God forever. Because I believe that Jesus has provided a way for me to live forever, I am not afraid to die. But if you do not believe in Jesus, then the answer is yes and you should be afraid.

3. Confidence. Christians ask it with confidence. Some will worry about loved ones left behind. Some will have some pain at what they are about to lose, but they know something better awaits. Some older Christians even long for death because it is a release from the pain and sorrow of a broken world. Death is the journey to real life. So the answer is YES, death does lose this battle. Life wins.

The real question should be: Am I going to live?
Oh, and about the seven year old. He is my grandson and he is in a family of faith, so the question was more curious than anything else. And he is doing well, but the answer is still yes he will die someday. As we all will. The real question is how we feel about it.

I do not know the last time you asked yourself if you were going to die, but the truth is … yes, you are. The question is how you feel about it. I can help you face it with confidence. Write me at steve@hopeforlife.org or join the blog discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.