When we go through tough times, are there some things we can know for sure? Of course there are many things we cannot know in the midst of trials and tribulations. The Apostle Paul answers our question, “yes.”

    “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.” (Philippians 1:19-22)

Notice Paul does not speculate on how his time in prison will turn out; however, he knows for what it will turn out…his deliverance. How could Paul possibly know he would be delivered? Let’s first answer why he knew. He knew that his faithful brethren were praying for him and that the Holy Spirit would always be there for him. Paul knew he would be delivered because God had a record of coming through for His people even in the worse of time. He had his Bible, the Old Testament, to give him that knowledge. He could read the Book of Job and remember how God delivered a man in such a pitiful state. He could read the God-glorifying words of this severely afflicted man and take great comfort from him:

    “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)

Paul could read from the Prophet Isaiah about the coming Messiah and know that he would not be disgraced or ashamed for how he conducted his ministry:

    “The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:5-7)

And we have our Bibles to where we can read Paul’s words and know that what we face can be for the glory of God:

    “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Paul knew that even if he died the Lord Jesus Christ would be lifted up in his death and this caused him to pen some of his most famous words:

    “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

If I am living for Christ, then my Christian legacy should help spread the gospel even after I’m dead. The words said at my funeral, the memories of loved ones and friends. When I am long gone and my grandson is a grown man I want my legacy of a godly man to live in him forever. I want him to be able to pass on a legacy of righteousness to his children and grandchildren.

There are days when I am weary and would prefer to be in heaven with my Lord and father and mother, sister and son, but I am left here on earth because God is not finished with me yet. There are so many people in my life and to come who need the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And though I long for heaven, I also long to see many more come to Christ. So the holy catch-22 is if I live I can bear fruit for Jesus in souls saved, but if I die I can be with Him.

Such a tough choice; one that I am glad I don’t have to make. So what do I do in the mean time?

More on that tomorrow…

In Christ
Ps. 37:4

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    Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers