Paul’s statement that ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain’ is one of the boldest sentences in Scripture.
As Christians, it’s a passage that we often quote and that we readily intellectually assent to; however, most of us—if honest—sense that we are not really living it the way that Paul was. Our lives (time, money, passion) are not wholly given over to serving; and we do not face death fearlessly, longing for union with God.
I’ve wanted to really understand these words. And as someone who now has an illness, I feel it’s imperative.
This statement of Paul is found in the book of Philippians, which though a short letter, has some of the most recognized and poetic passages in the Bible. And much to my surprise, when I took a deeper look, I found that this book is all about suffering.
So why does Paul write an entire letter addressing suffering?