We like to sing Nearer My God to Thee
But we keep on taking vitamin B.
- Nipsy Russell
In the comic story "After Hours" a psychiatrist says of his wife, "That woman makes Hamlet's death wish sound like the happy laughter of a freckle faced boy!" In the play version, this line gets a big laugh.
However if you were to say that the apostle Paul had a death wish, people might think you had grossly misinterpreted him. But I do say it. This is based on his statement, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." (Philippians 1:23).
"Far better"! What has Paul chosen? What does he desire, but death and his presence with Christ? Yet for the sake of his charges he will remain with them. Paul's escape, and his prolonging of his life, are not from fear of death, but to complete his mission on the earth. How many today can say the same?
I knew a lady who had her funeral performed before she died, to celebrate her soon departure. My wife faced her death with total peace. I hope to do the same. What a great example, for both believers and unbelievers alike, we can make by the manner in which we look at our deaths.
The sorrows and evils of the world threaten us with death. But Paul's example promises us eternal life and its rewards.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8