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Today's Devotional

I desire to depart and be with Christ . . . but it is more necessary . . . that I remain. Philippians 1:23–24

During the coronavirus pandemic, many suffered the loss of loved ones. On November 27, 2020, our family joined their ranks when Bee Crowder, my ninety-five-year-old mom, died—though not from Covid-19. Like so many other families, we weren’t able to gather to grieve Mom, honor her life, or encourage one another. Instead, we used other means to celebrate her loving influence—and we found great comfort from her insistence that, if God called her home, she was ready and even eager to go. That confident hope, evidenced in so much of Mom’s living, was also how she faced death.

Facing possible death, Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. . . . I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:21, 23–24). Even with his legitimate desire to stay and help others, Paul was drawn to his heavenly home with Christ.

Such confidence changes how we view the moment when we step from this life to the next. Our hope can give great comfort to others in their own season of loss. Although we grieve the loss of those we love, believers in Jesus don’t grieve like those “who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). True hope is the possession of those who know Him.

How would you describe your response to the threatening realities in our world? How could intentional hope change your outlook on the struggles of life?

God of all hope, please remind me of Jesus’ death-conquering victory.


In Philippians, Paul models the complete transformation that being “united with Christ” (2:1) brings. Even death can become an occasion to honor and draw closer to Jesus, to “not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (1:29). The apostle’s words that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (v. 21) aren’t a death wish but a celebration of the freedom Jesus brings from a paralyzing fear of death. In both life and death, we draw closer to Christ as we follow His example of self-giving love (2:3–8), “becoming like him in his death” (3:10).

By |2023-10-05T02:33:17-04:00October 5th, 2023|
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