July 24, 2013

“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.”  Philippians 1:25

I can relate to Paul’s longing for death.  For Paul, he knew that it was far better to depart and be with Christ.  I believe in the sweet release of death and look forward to being with Christ.  However, there is a difference between longing for what is far better behind the veil of death and simply wanting to escape the stress and unpleasantness of life.

Dark Night

Dark Night (Photo credit: Mat Sheridan)

Typically, I only think about death when the view on this side is bleak.  “O Lord, if you are going to take me, then now would be a good time,” has been a prayer that has crossed my lips on the eve of an important test that I was ill prepared for.  The oppression of discouragement and meaninglessness leads the eye to look to for what is far better beyond the horizon of life.  Feelings of being ill-suited for this world and without a role tend to increase the desire to go where you know you will belong.

On those dark nights, escape has been my primary motivation behind the desire to leave this world.

The duplicity of my motivation was revealed when the doctor explained the cancer that was confronting my mortality.  Suddenly, the attractive escape of death was not as appealing.  There was within me an earnest desire to remain here a little longer to help raise my kids and grow old with my wife.  “O Lord, if it is your will  then your will be done but please give me a few more years.  Allow me to be a father and husband a little longer,” was my prayer when the reality of death knocked.

The Lord graciously granted that prayer and I have been cancer free for more than ten years.  However, the earnestness of being purposeful wanes as the years have removed the palpable taste of death’s reality.  The taste may diminish but the reality remains.  We all are a missed heartbeat away from crossing the veil into the arms of our Savior.  The time that we have been give is precious and should not be wasted.

For those who are in Christ, it is far better for the Lord to take us home.  So, why doesn’t he?  We are here for a purpose:

For to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.  (Philippians 1:24)

sunrise silhouette

sunrise silhouette (Photo credit: LJ Mears)

Like Paul, we remain in this world not for our own account but for others.  We all have a necessary purpose that we can fulfill in the time that God has given us on this earth.  We are here to help others progress in their faith.  Our purpose is to increase the joy in their faith.  It should be said of every departing brother and sister that they brought joy, encouragement, and progress to the faith of those in their life.

We are never too old or young to bring joy and encourage progress in someone else’s faith.
We are never too immature or mature to be about the purpose of others.

My hope and prayer on the day that death is allowed to take me is that my life will have brought joy to the faith of those I love.  I want those in whom I have invested my life to say that they have progressed in their faith because of the time that we were together.

That will be a life well spent.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for every day that you have given me.  Forgive me for not making the most of them.  Forgive me for allowing my limited days to be consumed with thoughts of my self.  Father, I want to live purposefully.  I want those whom you have placed in my life to be joyful as a result of my love for you.  I want those whom you have called to go further in their sanctification as a result of seeing my desire to seek you.  Lord, may you grant this purpose to my life.  Keep it in the forefront of my intentions.  Help me to be purposeful with the fleeting hours that I have been given.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. These words of yours spoke especially to my heart: “It should be said of every departing brother and sister that they brought joy, encouragement, and progress to the faith of those in their life.” That sentence could easily become a prayer each morning: “This day, O Lord, may I bring joy and encouragement to those around me. And may my words and actions foster growth in their faith.” With that prayer on our lips, our heart’s desire to be used of God will surely be fulfilled!

  2. Thanks JD. A post that illustrates its own point…here you are, helping to strengthen my faith through sharing your own faith, your words and the example of your life. What a blessing from the Lord you are.

    You have put into words what I am currently learning in my own life. It’s a tough gig. But thankfully we serve a faithful, loving, perfect God who knows what he’s doing. Even when we don’t!

  3. I share your prayer!

  4. Wonderful post! Thank you!

  5. Thank you! I love your prayer. I pray the same.

  6. God spoke to me so directly through this post- thank you for sharing, I can really relate! I’m in a battle between living the purposes I know God has for me and wanting a quick easy escape route. I echo your prayer 100%.

  7. Touched by this devotional for personal reasons. My husband was diagnosed with state IV cancer in 2010. Suddenly both of us faced the possiblitiy of his death and wanted to LIVE more than anything. Still during his treatement which was grueling, I know he had moments when the other side, the better side looked appealing. We prayed, others prayed, we got excellent medical attention and God brought him through. I am convinced that God brought him through as an even better pastor than he already was, a better husband and hopefully made me a better wife. For others, that’s is why God keeps us here, but both of us will be ready for the better side when God chooses. Until then we plan to LIVE.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Reblogged this on Focused and Free.

  9. Beautiful! Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: