“Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13)
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Paul loves the Lord so much He’s willing to die for Him. As Jesus led by example, this option–of martyrdom–is ever on the table. I don’t think about it much, to be honest. But it’s down there God knows where. In other words, there was a time way back when I was filled with the fire of my new birth and I knew God loved me (still do) and I was willing to do any and everything for Him. Even to the point of giving it all up and going home. And before I go any further, this is a high calling. One in which you’ve already given all up to the Lord and in which the circumstances leading to the end are not yours to control. Come to think of it, this is how it is even as we live:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1, emphasis mine)
By the book
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:7)
I think there’s a certain crystallization that happens within when we so saturate our mind with what God thinks on the matter. To “meditate in His word day and night” and “renew our minds” to God’s truth so that He can flow through us and weave His narrative through our own life even as He weaves us into His narrative. Jesus is spoken of in Hebrews (12:2) as “the author and finisher of our faith”. While the word may not quite connote the idea of the rockstar writer with a new bestseller every year whilst the paperback version of the previous follows closely, it fits Him. He is the one who gives us this blank book of our life and encourages us to fill it as we will. With pauses now and again to dip into His inkwell.
And there will come a time when God writes the last sentence of your life on earth. He knows when and while He does, the pages still look blank. Think about Paul’s declaration at the top of the page. Either or both. “I am…ready to die”. And “to die is gain”. Paul is either supremely cocky or else He knows the one who holds his hand even as he (Paul) holds the pen.