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Have You ever Been Lonely or Felt Abandoned…
“May the Lord rescue us from every evil threat and bring us safe to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18). Have you ever been lonely, or worse, felt abandoned by all those whom you counted as friends and allies? This latter kind of loneliness is profoundly painful. It feels like the world has fallen away from you. You are truly alone, with no support from anyone. This is how Paul was feeling when he wrote this letter to Timothy. But we also see the depths of Paul’s faith here. It is in this faith that he knows he can go on with his mission to spread the Gospel. Paul has been abandoned by a former colleague, others he has sent to continue the mission to various other communities. He has been put on trial, been attacked by Alexander the coppersmith, which has caused him much harm, and warns Timothy to beware of this person because he has shown both strength and tenacity against Paul’s and the other’s preaching. Some may remember a time when they went through something like what Paul is describing here, when they were being powerfully, even unjustly attacked by someone, or some group, and a profound sense of loneliness threatened to overwhelm them. Without a belief in a loving God whose faithfulness is true and whose mercy is so generously given, how can we survive such loneliness? But with that faith in God, we can not only survive, we can thrive in and through such times. Paul’s example of faith here is instructive and encouraging to us all. Though he has had to endure these things, and though he is truly experiencing the weight of them, he knows that God will rescue and defend him. His confidence in God gives him the security…