To Die is Gain
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
There are no secrets about the outcome of our lives…it has been appointed by God that we will all die (Heb 9:27). All of us must face our own deaths, but we must also face times when someone we really care about dies. This past week, God decided to take a dear Christian woman home to be with Him.
We had been praying continuously at Truth Fellowship Live since we heard that Deb had an incurable brain tumor. In just 6-7 weeks, Deb became ill and die. During those weeks, I would drive past cemeteries and my thoughts would go to Deb and then to my wife. I was trying to understand how one can cope with this type of situation. I don’t know that I will ever be able to answer my questions, but I do know that God is in control and He is the one who appoints life and death.
Deb was a wonderful Christian lady. My wife knew her very well and I got to know her quite well a couple of years ago. Phyllis and I were fortunate enough to be part of a team that traveled to the Boston area as part of the Freedom in Christ ministry. On that trip, I learned of the great dedication Deb had to our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:21 fits what I knew about Deb. For her, to live was Christ. Her life was about serving Christ. She was a prolific reader and she had great curiosity about her faith and the Bible. Her life was about encouraging other.
Deb was one of the few people I am aware of that read these posts from Truth Fellowship Live every week. In fact, she would from time-to-time send me notes of encouragement—what a wonderful Christian sister. She also on a couple of occasions, asked me questions that led to a topic for a post. I will miss the interaction I experienced with Deb.
All-in-all, Deb had a beautiful life and she served God with all of her heart, soul, and mind. I am thankful she was a part of my life.
But the rest of Phil 1:21 must also be remembered—to die is gain. Deb’s suffering is over. I have always thought it trite to say that a person is “in a better place.” With Deb we can be convinced that this true. Deb trusted in Jesus Christ as her savior. She understood the key elements of saving faith.
- We are all guilty of sin
- The penalty for our sin is death—we are separated from God
- God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to pay the penalty for our sin
- By faith alone we can receive God’s gift of eternal life
Deb lived her life understanding the freedom she had in Christ. I am so glad that she has fought the good fight and kept the faith. Now there has been laid up for her a crown of righteousness (“…there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:8)
Deb understood (and so must we) that her life was transitory. We must not focus on the present, but rather, on the future—the future we will spend with Christ. We must life for the unseen not the seen. This is living by faith not by sight. Our lives must be spent obeying God and serving Him in all we do—despite the hard comings of life. Such was the life Deb lived in front of us. Deb was ready—she was prepared—to take up her residence with the Lord.
Are you ready?
“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor 5:6–8)
We will miss you Deb…but we will meet again. Praise God!
August 4, 2014 (8:22 am)
Thank You Jon for this beautiful tribute not only about Deb, but an example of how he Christian faith in Christ who died for our sins should be lived out..She has gained that crown of righteousness which was promised to her by her belief in the risen Lord and Savior…We will see Deb again and other dear saints that have gone on before us…”Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Heb.11-1..All GLORY and HONOR to our Lord Jesus Christ..Blessings, Ann
Dr. Jon Hanson
August 4, 2014 (11:47 am)
Deb was a special person. There was great rejoicing in heaven when she arrived. Thanks for your comment. Jon