For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
These words express, as none others could, the secret of Paul’s wonderful missionary activity and his deep devotion to the will of the Lord. From the moment when divine grace arrested him on the Damascus road to his last hour on earth, he had yielded his heart wholly to the blessed One who had saved him. Life meant only one thing for him: the opportunity to become better acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ and to serve Him wholeheartedly. Nothing else seemed worthwhile. All that earth could offer was but as rubbish compared to this (Philippians 3:7–9). He had learned to look at everything below the skies in the light of the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14). Now he looked forward eagerly to the end of the way, when he should be with Christ and receive at His hand the recognition of His approval of his service.
Though absent, I have known His love,
And by His mercies daily prove
The wonders of His grace,
He, whom not having seen, I love,
Will call, and in His home above
I’ll see Him face to face.
With patience, in His love I’ll rest,
And whisper that He knoweth best,
And I am satisfied.
Then, clinging to that guiding hand,
A weakling, in His strength I’ll stand
Though I be sorely tried.
Though burdened with a load of care,
He’s promised me the strength to bear
The trials that appall;
So, hiding pain away from sight,
I’ll let my life be fair and bright,
While waiting for His call.
—Robert R. Pentecost
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 305.