This week I’m studying this passage that’s been haunting me a bit recently. As I’ve reached the age of 52, and as I feel the reality of a body that’s slowly sliding towards its graduation into eternity, I’ve been realizing how much I’m captured by the here far more than I’m captured by the hereafter promised to me in scripture. I have the most amazing marriage of 24 years, the most amazing children and friends, and church family. I mean I’m so blessed I really I don’t want this life to end. Oh, and it’s also hard for my pea-sized brain to fathom anything better than the goodness of this life. But then I read Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi when he writes “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.“ Philippians 1:22-24 I read what Paul writes and I just have to be honest with myself that I’m not all there right now. My preference today is to “go on living in the body” rather than “depart and be with Christ,” and if I got bad medical news that I was going to depart for my heavenly home sooner than expected, I would grieve. I simply don’t feel that conflict Paul writes about. And yet I long to live in the kind of freedom Paul describes, to be so eager to be completely set free of the limitations of the curse, and finally arrive at home in heaven that I could “take a bullet” for the sake of Christ and it wouldn’t be any big deal or any real loss.
So as I am aging, and as I get closer to my eternity, I’m beginning to ask God to do what He’s always done in my life; help me grow up. I’m asking God to help me grow into a freedom of so much trust in Him, and what He’s promised in my eternity, that I’ve loosed my grip on this life. I’m asking this because I’m beginning to see that to be that much more ablaze with the glory and grace of God in my life means living with that much looser of a grip on this life.