“I’m torn!” rings the desperate cry of one vacillating between possibilities. Two equally appealing options, or equally awful scenarios, seem to make for equally torturous decision-making. From which job offer to accept, to which friend to let down, the choice is hardly ever easy.
In his letter to the Philippian church, the devoted apostle Paul expressed anguish over a situation of this sort. He thought it agreeable to remain on earth with his brothers and sisters, who had toiled alongside him in the work of the gospel. But at the same time, he wholeheartedly longed for the glory of heaven and the joy of being with Christ.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
– Philippians 1:21-24
He ultimately concludes that the decision isn’t his to pronounce after all, and it was clear he would be of earthly service for a while longer (25).
I thank God for this tidbit of Scripture, because I think every Christian lives in this beautiful tension. We hope for heaven, yet enjoy earth. We look forward to coming glories, yet tend to daily duties. We can’t wait to go to our eternal home, yet can’t imagine leaving the one we’ve made here.
God’s Provision: From the very start, though, God has etched a timeline. This life is a temporary sojourn, preparing us for a permanent rest. All those who’ve come and gone before lay another brick on the foundation of faith, with Christ as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”
– Hebrews 11:13-16
We are useful on earth for as long as God allows. Of course, we serve with heavenly-minded thoughts and eternity-driven motives that cause us to hold loosely to the world and cling tightly to God (Colossians 3:2).
Word of the Week: Transient. Our earthly era is impermanent and passing, but the heavenly Kingdom is established and enduring.
“We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:18


Authored by Abby Bennett on November 30, 2023.