“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:17-18)
Have you ever felt alone? Deserted? Abandoned? During Paul’s first trial he was deserted by his closest friends and left alone. He was probably tempted to become bitter and angry at his situation. He was probably tempted to resent his friends for not being there for him when he needed them most. We all probably have been tempted with similar thoughts when others have not cared for us well in the midst of our trials.
Although it would have been completely natural for Paul to feel bitter at his friend’s desertion, Paul knew that he was never really alone. He writes, “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me.” Beloved, the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. As the Lord stood by Paul and strengthen him, the Lord will also stand by us and strengthen us during our season of desertion. Our Lord was forsaken on the cross so that we would never be forsaken. We will be persecuted, but we will never be forsaken (2 Cor. 4:9). The Lord’s presence should be a constant reminder that He will sustain us to the end (1 Cor. 1:9). He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion. We should take comfort that Lord will always be with us.
We should also take comfort to know that God will be using our trials for his own purposes. Notice that Paul gave the reason for why he was deserted when he says, “so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” God was using his trials for the advancement of the gospel. God will use your trials to bring glory to His name. We do not have to understand how God is moving to know that God is moving.
Beloved, hold on to those great twin truths: God will always stand by you and God always has a purpose in our trials. Whatever you are facing today know that God will bring you safely into his heavenly kingdom. He will stand with and work for you!! He who called you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thess. 5:24).