The text message from my brother was terse: “Dad just passed away. Come to ward now.”
My 84-year-old father had vacillated between life and death for 2 months. He finally took his final breath. Dad had lost his battle with cancer, and losing him deeply saddened me. And yet I also rejoiced, for he hadn’t really lost the battle. He had won it decisively. Twenty-five years earlier, he had given his life to Jesus and received something “far better” (Philippians 1:23). And now, Dad had gone home to live forever with his Lord (1 John 5:11-12).
Paul was in prison in Rome waiting for the outcome of his appeal to Caesar (Philippians 1:13, 4:22; Acts 25:11). With the Philippian believers praying for him (Philippians 1:19), Paul believed that he would be released soon and that he should continue to minister to them (Philippians 1:25-26, 2:24). For their sakes, it was necessary for Paul to remain on this side of heaven (Philippians 1:21-22,24). But Paul longed to be with God, for he knew it would be “far better” (Philippians 1:23).
For Paul, the crucial issue was not living or dying. It was keeping up his faithful testimony and witness for Jesus. Paul’s goals were to “continue to be bold for Christ,” to “do more fruitful work for Christ,” and to “bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die” (Philippians 1:20,22).
My father sought those same goals. During the last 25 years of his life, he strove to bring honor to Jesus. He boldly lived for Him, and experienced the joy of his faith (Philippians 1:25) even in the midst of painful cancer. That was my dad’s example and legacy (Romans 5:3-5). He could say with Paul, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21).
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”