There is a remarkable statement made by Paul in writing from jail to the Philippian Christians. He writes, "For I am hard pressed between the two (live on in the flesh or die, cf. 1:21-22, NP), having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you" (1:22-23).
As much as the weary, beaten, persecuted, betrayed, anguished, mistreated, and frazzled Paul longed for the beauty, freedom, joy, and fellowship of being in heaven with Christ, he amazingly says that he is "hard pressed." It was a difficult decision! That is truly amazing. What is so hard for a beleaguered soldier to lay down the heavy armor of God in order to receive the grandest of prizes? He had such a desire to be of service to his fellow Christians. He wanted to do whatever he could to encourage them, help them, and lead them to a right relationship with Christ, even to the point of being conflicted about whether or not to go on to be with Him. I want to live that way and face death that way, longing to be with the Lord but still seeing it as a difficult choice. Not difficult in that I don't want to leave this world, its temporary and elusive comforts, or some temporal pleasure, but difficult in that I want to help people here get up there!