but the Lord

Read 2 Timothy 4:9-18.

Paul was enduring attacks of evil. A long-time friend and co-worker, had left him high and dry. Someone else had done him much, unspeakable, harm. Everyone else, save one, had deserted him. And whatever may be meant, whether literal or figurative, he had been close to the lion’s mouth and back.

If anyone had reason to be resentful or even bitter, depressed or even in despair, perhaps it was Paul. After all, has he not given himself over completely, consistently and often sacrificially to the Lord and the work he has laid out for him? And this is what receives in return here?

But Paul has a very different perspective. His eyes are on the Lord, not himself. While he is honest with the harsh realities that surround him, at the same time he sees, and trust in, realities beyond physical sight. Like the Lord’s presence and provision. The Lord’s strengthening and deliverance. The Lord’s justice and forgiveness.

Paul has taken some of the hardest hits a person can take:

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” (2 Tim. 4:16)

And yet he reacted to it all as his Lord did.

“… all the disciples deserted him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56)

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Who do I imitate when the chips are down? Who do you emulate when things are tough? Who do we look for and from whom when life is not pleasant?

The Lord, I pray.