At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. ~2 Timothy 4:16-17
Perhaps one of the worst experiences and feelings to go through in life is that of abandonment. Abandonment is when someone you thought was faithful and loving to you has completely left and forsaken you. At first, there appears to be no reason or cause for the abandonment. As things unfold, you come to realize that this did not happen flippantly. This morning let us see how Paul shows us that in spite of circumstances beyond our control, we are a people who are unforsaken.
We see a depressing REALIZATION.
Paul was at the lowest point in his life. He was in prison and awaiting his execution. He was labeled an enemy of the state of Rome. Worst, most of his friends and coworkers were nowhere to be found. He said, “No man stood with me, but all men forsook me.” Some were in fear for their own lives. Some were in question as to whether the charges against Paul were true. Some saw their hero in a hopeless situation, and they themselves lost hope. Paul was alone, abandoned, and avoided. Abandonment can happen to everyone. A blind man that Jesus healed was rejected by his parents. David was criticized by his brother Eliab as being naughty and proud. Abandonment happens in all walks of life. When you are the one affected, you are overwhelmed with a depressing realization that you are alone.
We see a dependable REASSURANCE.
“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.” At Paul’s lowest moment, God shined some light in that dark prison. At his point of utter discouragement, he was assured of the Lord’s presence and power in his life. We have the Lord’s promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He stands with us when all others leave us. He stands with us when all others lose boldness and change their position. He stands with us when others misunderstand us. He stands with us when others abandon their convictions and values. He stands with us when others decide they do not want to go with us. Be encouraged this morning that you are never forsaken. Be empowered this morning that abandonment brings us closer to the Lord.
We see a devoted RESPONSIBILITY.
As Paul was strengthened in his faith and morale, he was revived in his resolve for serving the Lord. God was not finished with him as a preacher! God still had more people who needed to hear the gospel. There were believers who needed a word of encouragement from Paul. God still had things for Paul to accomplish until his last breathing moment. As he received a new surge of strength to serve out his remaining days faithfully, he remembered God would deliver him out of the mouth of the lion, and that abandonment had a glorious purpose even though it hurt.
Beloved, God is always with us! He is with us in the valley, in the caves, on the mountain tops, in the massive crowds, in the privacy of our closets, when we are seeing great fruit, and when the fruit bearing is slow in appearing. The opinion of others can demoralize us and lead us to being withdrawn. Get your eyes off of the discouragement and get your eyes on the Lord.
Yes, we are unforsaken! The Lord stands with us and strengthens us!
Have an unforsaken God Morning!