What a wonderful testimony. It is as though Paul is saying heaven can wait. As much as he longed to be with Christ, he realized that it was more needful for him to stay that he could minister to others. Sadly some want to stay for the wrong reasons. Ashton Oxenden explained the problem like this:
Sometimes, alas! we see very aged people clinging to this world even more tightly than the young. We see them close to the grave’s mouth — and yet loving the riches, the pleasures, the trifles of this world — with all their affections! Oh, this is a sad sight! It is sad to see a poor dying creature entering upon a solemn eternity — with a heart glued to the world which he is leaving, and full of its concerns!
When this is the case with a Christian — God often in mercy sends us some affliction. He withers our gourds which have grown up around us, that He may lead us to seek a truer and a safer shelter. He sees that we are too fond of these clay cottages of ours; so He makes the walls to crumble, that we may be content to leave them at His call.
Look at your growing infirmities, dear reader — as so many mercies. Let them serve to remind you that you will not be here always, and that this world “is not your rest, because it is polluted!” Let your growing infirmities make you long for that happier land, where there shall be no more old age — where sorrow and sighing shall be unknown — and where “the inhabitant shall never say, I am sick.”
Oh, it is well for us that all is not health, and strength, and sunshine here — else we would be even fonder than we are, of our present earthly home.