2 Timothy 4:14-17
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 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.
17 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.
There are a lot of people in this world who could care less if they hurt you or offend you. They will gossip, backbite, slander and wish evil upon us because of the walk that we walk. As Christians we should expect this. We know that the world is against us and will do anything to bring us down. Jesus told us we would have tribulation. He told us we were like sheep among wolves. Why would we expect anything different? It is not personal! It is our enemy, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can destroy, He will use any means to knock the glory of God right out of us and bring us down to his level. This world is full of people who are unwitting messengers for the enemy. They are only doing what they are told by him. Let that dust shake off of your feet.
The unfortunate thing is that there are also Christians who do the same thing. They act like the world as they demean and cut us down. They do the same type of backbiting, gossiping, slandering and thinking ill-will about other Christians. This should not be so, and we are tempted to lash out at them, or discuss their evil deeds with others. “Oh, look what so-and-so did to me.” “Did you hear what he/she said about you?” It’s a sad state of affairs when the church acts like the world. Paul had such a person in his life named Alexander. And Paul leaves us a great example of how we should deal with such people – put them in God’s hands. The word tells us that vengeance belongs to God, not us (Romans 12:19) I pray you will allow God to deal with those who do such things, and will not stoop to their level. Our words and actions should always be laced with grace
Paul knew about grace. The grace that was afforded him on that road to Damascus was something he would never forget. He knew that God must have a big heart if He was willing to forgive all the horrible things he had done. And he also realized that it was his responsibility to give that same kind of grace to those he came in contact with. Treat others with t3eh same grace that God gave to you. What a great mindset to have! Paul says that even though all those people turned away from him, he desired that God would forgive the for ignoring the Gospel message he brought. Isn’t it amazing that Paul speaks of all those who turned away from his words, yet still today we glean wisdom and understanding from those same words? Paul’s legacy lived on way beyond his years. In large part this happened because even though so many had turned away, the Lord was with him.
What a wonderful testimony that is to have. The Lord is with me. No matter what I go through, the Lord is with me. In the midst of my biggest battles, the Lord is with me. In the crashing seas and the howling wind, the Lord is with me. In the valley low or on the mountain high, the Lord is with me. In sickness or health, the Lord is with me. In riches or poverty, the Lord is with me. No matter what, where or when, the Lord is with me. He is ny shepherd, and there is no need in my life He cannot fill when I trust in Him. It’s easy to lose sight of that when the trials loom tall and the enemy is coming in on all sides to steal, kill and destroy. But he is there, right by our side, helping us all the way. He will guide me through when I trust in Him. He will strengthen me that my life might shine as a witness to His love.
Those of you who know me well know that my favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path.” When we know God is with us, this is easy. When we know God is with us, we can have complete trust that He is also taking care of us and will not allow anything into our lives that we cannot withstand. I may not understand what is happening, or why it is happening, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t need to understand. My only task is to acknowledge that God will use this trial, or test, or sickness, or injury for His glory if I will just let Him. Then, even in the midst of my struggles and storms, he will guide me through. It’s not rocket science, my friend. It’s very simple. But I must know it! I must know He is there, even if I can’t see Him or feel Him. He is there. The Lord is with me. Paul was in captivity in a Roman prison, awaiting his death, and He knew the Lord was with him even there. Do you recognize that God is with you right now? That He will strengthen you? That He will bring glory to His name through this test if we will only yield and allow Him to do His will in our lives, and not turn to our own ways.
If you are in the midst of a difficult time in your life, know that the Lord is with you. I am undergoing a huge financial struggle. But I now God is with me and he will bring glory out of it. Of this, I have no doubt. I just need to trust her is there, which I do. I need to listen to His direction, which I try my best to do. I need to acknowledge Him even in this mess, which I do. I know He will direct my steps and bring me safely through because I know he is with me. Do you have this assurance today? If not, just ask Him to speak to you and then quiet yourself. It is in our stillness that we will know He is God (Psalm 46:10)