I believe both my children suffer from a mental illness. After a careful research, I have not found it listed in any major medical journal, so I am going to name it myself. I call it “Decision Anxiety Disorder (DAD).”
Grandpa comes for a visit. He takes my son to the store to buy him a toy. My son finds two toys he really likes and grandpa tells him he can pick whichever one he wants. The next hour is spent in agony and tears as my son cannot decide.
If grandpa had simply bought him one of the toys, my son would have been elated. Tasked with the decision, however, both my son and daughter fall to pieces. They agonize. They stress. They suffer because deep down they fear they will make the wrong decision. They worry that they will later regret their choice.
Do you know anyone who suffers from Decision Anxiety Disorder? I am thinking about starting a support group.
The Apostle Paul at one point suffered from a form of Decision Anxiety Disorder. At the time, he was imprisoned in the city of Rome. He didn’t know what was going to happen to him – whether they were going to kill him or let him go.
And he didn’t know which he would choose if he were given the choice.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul told them he was having a hard time deciding. If they killed him, he would get to go to heaven and be with Jesus. He would be free from all the pains and problems of this world. Death would be better by far. Yet, if they let him go, he would be able to share the good news of God’s love with more people. More people could be saved.
Paul didn’t know which to choose. “For to me, to live is Christ,” he wrote, “and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Few people think that way today – that to die is gain. But it is. When we die, we can be sure we are going to heaven because Jesus paid it all. He suffered our punishment in our place. He promises that all those who believe in him will live forever in heaven.
And that is gain.
I mean, I love living in Edna, Texas, but come on. Edna, Texas is not heaven on earth. No place, no experience, no joy here on earth can compare to the happiness of heaven.
It may sound crazy, but for a Christian it is better to die than to live here on earth.
And yet, for us, to live is Christ. If we are still here, that means we have the opportunity to live for our Savior who lived and died for us. If we are still here, it means God has jobs for us to do and blessings to shower upon us.
It’s actually a tough choice. Which would you choose?
In the end, Paul didn’t need to stress about that decision. You don’t need to worry about which to choose, because it’s not your choice.
It is not your decision whether you live or die.
Your heavenly Father has made that decision for you. If you are still here on earth, it is because God still has life for you to live, things for you to do, blessings for you to receive. When he decides – when the time is just right – he will take you to be with him in the happiness and perfection of heaven.
So don’t worry about it. Don’t stress about dying. Don’t give up on living when life gets hard. If you’re still here, God has plans for you. When you die, you get to go to heaven.
Either way, you win.