He felt himself in a great strait!
(James Smith, "Paul's Seven Wishes" 1856)
Paul's next all-absorbing desire was to be WITH Christ!
Paul dearly loved his work.
He was greatly attached to the church — which needed his presence, gifts, and labors.
He deeply sympathized with poor perishing sinners — who needed the gospel.
But such was his love to Jesus, that he felt himself in a great strait, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" (Philippians 1:23) He says nothing about place, or employment, the absence of sorrow, or the possession of joy; his heart was fixed on the person of Christ.
To be with Christ — this was his desire.
To be with Christ anywhere — was enough.
To be with Christ forever — was a sufficient Heaven!
Paul was willing to lay down his body — if by doing so, he may be with Christ.
To be with Christ, to him was far better than life with all its comforts.
To be with Christ, to him was far better than the world with all its privileges and pleasures.
To be with Christ! This is . . .
the flower of bliss,
the crown of glory,
the perfection of happiness!
To be with Christ! Paul could desire nothing beyond this!
My friend, can you empathize with Paul here?