To Live Is Christ
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
This passage of scripture is encouraging to me for a lot of reasons.
“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
I know that in reading this that God loves my mom and his plan is for her good- however contrary to her present condition that may seem. It is better for her to be with Jesus, waiting in heaven for the new creation, than to suffer now.
“Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Even though this is the darkest period of my life so far, Jesus will be glorified in the midst of tragedy.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,”
The gospel means that all things, even my mom’s imminent death, will be redeemed. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so he will one day raise his followers. This beautiful promise allows believers to be faithful until death; it should also motivate me to live a holy, righteous life in the present.
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,”
It was through suffering on the cross that Jesus defeated sin and death and purchased our redemption. It is through the church’s suffering in the present that this grace is applied and that the gospel spreads. Our faithfulness in suffering speaks to the validity of God’s promise.
This passage of scripture doesn’t answer all my questions. It doesn’t take away the pain I feel in my heart when I call her and hear the life escaping from her frail body. It doesn’t take away the loneliness that I feel when I think about my mom being taken from me.
But it is beautiful and it gives me hope.