James longs for heaven and often expresses the wish to die young so that he can get there early. Susan loves life and doesn’t like thinking about heaven too much because there’s so much kingdom work to be done on earth.
Most of us are varying mixtures of James and Susan, which creates a confusing and painful tension at times. Sometimes we feel guilty about how little we long for heaven, other times we feel guilty that our desire for heaven is merely escapism from this world’s troubles. How do I balance my longing for eternal life with my longing for a useful life?
The Apostle Paul was a James-Susan mix, and, in Philippians 1:22-26, models the answer for us.