January 13, 2017
READ: Philippians 1:20-24
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better (v.21).
For two and a half years, a visit to my wife’s oncologist was part of our weekly routine. But one visit was different. In a discernably subdued tone, he told us that he was going to stop her treatment. The chemo was no longer effective. My wife had come to the final stage of her fight against a fast-growing, aggressive cancer.
Lay Keng’s faith, however, remained strong. Her anticipation to see Jesus was palpable. She knew she would soon be home with her Father (John 14:1-3). With Paul she could say, “I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me” (Philippians 1:23).
Yet she was greatly conflicted—“torn between two desires” (v.23). She experienced the intense tension Paul described. Ever mindful of her joy in being a wife, mother, and friend, she was also God’s servant and wanted to continue “to live for Christ” and “do more fruitful work for [Him]” (vv.21-22). But her surrender to God’s perfect plan reflects these words from Paul: “I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die” (v.20).
At the time, Lay Keng didn’t know how much time she had left. All she was told was that she had “a few months.” But she knew that her heavenly Father knew her days. There were uncertainties, yet she was fully assured of her future hope (v.20). “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (v.21).
This assurance was only because of what Jesus did for her on the cross. And, as the Father’s greatly loved child, she had been set free from the power of death and the fear of dying (Hebrews 2:14-15). For my wife, now with Jesus, death held no fear. Indeed, she is “with Christ, which [is infinitely and unquestionably] far better” (Philippians 1:23).
—K. T. Sim
365-day plan: Genesis 22:1-19
Read Hebrews 2:14-18. Why did the writer say we don’t need to fear death and dying?
How do Paul’s words help you deal withthe reality of death? What are you most looking forward to when God calls you home?