“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” – Philippians 1:21 (NIV)
In much of life we are governed by the belief that one must win at someone’s loss. For example, during elections, there is always one candidate who wins above all, and becomes a representative of everyone. Almost all games have one winner with the rest, however good, coming in as runner up.
In the Christian life we are faced with a paradox. As the Apostle Paul once shared with some believers based in the church in Philippi, when we live in this earthly life we are happy for the gift of life; yet, where death comes, still, we count that as victory, for the gift of eternal life. “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 (Philippians 1: 22-23).
Paul was not hesitant to point out that life is far much better: “but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (vv 24). After all, with life one can accomplish a lot and participate in the joy of building the kingdom. Thus he writes, “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” (vv 25- 26). Life is certainly far more desirable than death.
Yet where there is death which strikes fear to most, for believers it is but a win-win situation. We win with life; but even in death, we win! No one should of course desire death ahead of schedule, for, as with Paul, each one of us has a reason and justification for life. But when death happens, we too, rejoice, for one is matching to inexpressible glory. “And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel” (2 Timothy 2:10).
May we be comforted during this period of the corona virus pandemic and many other evils which can snap life so easily. We remain at peace and cheerful because even with death those who know Christ, there is gain.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of creation, of heaven and earth, today where as we see many lives going so quickly, during the corona virus pandemic, how blessed is it to know that because of our faith in your son Jesus Christ, death has been overcome, and we are victorious, weather in life or death, and for that we are thankful indeed!