Philippians 1:20-24 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Last week one of my co-workers on the field passed away suddenly from a heart attack. It was a shock to the organization, and at first I struggled with fear. Death has always scared me a bit- more those close to me dying than my own- and the realities of the field set in. I was reading through Philippians and I was reminded that as believers, we are really in a win-win situation! As Paul said, if we die we get to behold God’s glory in person. I don’t think I can even grasp that yet! If we wake up to live another day, it means we have another chance to be God’s hands and feet here on earth. How do people survive without the hope of heaven and the hope that keeps us going day to day?
God’s glory is our ultimate goal and purpose. Glory, according to the little dictionary in the back of my Bible, means “great honor, praise and thanksgiving offered in worship; splendor and majestic beauty”. There are many places in the world where God’s splendor and majesty are not known, and where no one gives Him the praise and honor He is due. Focusing on that, and the fact that we get to truly behold God’s glory when we get to heaven, takes away the fear of death. There will be pain and sorrow here on earth as we lose people we love, but if they know Jesus than they go to be in His presence and take in all that glory. We have no reason to fear!
Photo by Beth Hilkemann