I shared some thoughts from 2 Timothy with our Wednesday group concerning Paul who shared how the Lord stood at his side. Here is what the passage states:
2 Timothy 4:16-18
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen
Paul shares that when his first trial came upon him, there was no one to give a testimony or defense on his behalf. His friends could not be found and had let him down. Yet, he did not hold it against them and harbored no bitterness in his heart. There is no greater teacher in life than troubles. You learn a lot about yourself and others. Troubles reveal truth about so much. That is why we as believers look at troubles as steppingstones and not setbacks.
The next word “but” is a powerful contrast. Although everyone else had deserted Paul when he most needed them, the Lord stood at his side. Like with Paul, our Lord does not come and then finally go, or comes and goes back and forth. No! He stood or remained by his side the whole time. Not only was He constantly present, but He also provided inner strength and outer ability to proclaim His Word. He worked “in” and “through” Paul for His glory. When you feel there is only one of you, there really is always two of you. You may feel lonely at times, but you are not alone as a believer.
I shared more insights from this passage with my sisters, but let me close with a few thoughts. We are like the disciples before, who wanted Jesus to do something “for” them. They wanted Jesus to overthrow the Romans (government) and set up His kingdom. Many today want Jesus to do the same, repeating the same mindset as before. Do you think our Lord is more concerned about doing something “in” and “through” us rather than “for” us? Do you think He has a Kingdom agenda that does not match our own? Yes, He is a good Father that gives good gifts, but are we just to seek the gifts above the Giver?
Paul wrote 2 Timothy from a dark and damp Roman prison cell. Sometime after writing this letter, it is believed that he was beheaded. Nevertheless, Paul concluded that the Lord would ultimately deliver him, bring him to his heavenly home, and get the glory from it all. As Jesus stands with you (Hebrews 13:5), is it more important that He do something “for” you rather than “in” and “through” you for His glory? Only you know the answer to that question.