by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
2 TImothy 4:9–17
No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side (2 Tim. 4:16–17).
With a few lines, Paul sketches the course of his trial up to this point. The preliminary hearing had been held. The bad part was that no Romans came to testify in his favor. But the good part was that the Lord was with him. He enabled Paul to make a forceful testimony for Jesus Christ.
Apparently Paul's Roman friends, who could have served as character witnesses in his favor, stayed away out of fear.
In many respects Paul followed the footsteps of his Master even on this last stretch of the road. Jesus too was alone when the end approached. Jesus prayed for his enemies. And when Paul thinks of those who failed to help him, he prays, "May it not be held against them."
All Christ's disciples must learn from him how to suffer, how to pray, and how to die. Yet one big difference separates Christ's suffering from ours. During his final hours of pain, Jesus was forsaken by God. He cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" For three dark hours he suffered the agony of separation. And thereby he assured us that we would never be forsaken.
"The Lord stood at my side," says Paul. Of course he did. He promised when he left, "I am with you always."
We will find out what Paul experienced. Friends fail us. We may be very lonely. But forsaken? Never.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version