When he wrote to Timothy, the apostle Paul was in prison, where he experienced physical discomfort, personal attack, and desertion. For what reason would the Lord allow one of His most faithful servants to endure such suffering? Why didn’t He step in and protect him?
At times God doesn’t pull us out of hard situations, because He has a different plan. We may feel as if He’s abandoning us, but in reality, He is protecting us—not by deliverance but through strengthening.
When trouble and pain pay us a visit, we should seek to view the situation from God’s perspective, by asking ourselves these questions:
- Which is a greater demonstration of the Lord’s power—changing something around me or changing something within my heart?
- Which is the greater faith builder—seeing God’s deliverance from every difficulty or experiencing His presence and strengthening in the midst of trials?
- Which reward is greater—immediate relief from discomfort or tested and refined faith that will result in praise and glory when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7)?
- Which answer to prayer is greater—that God has removed something and given me external peace, or that He’s left me in a trial and given an internal peace that nothing can steal, not even my circumstances?
Does God have to fix something for you to be happy? If He removes the situation, you may never learn that He is sufficient for everything you need. Instead, let Him change you, and you’ll discover His joy in whatever circumstance comes your way.
Reprinted with consent of In Touch Ministries without modification.
Copyright In Touch Ministries. https://www.intouch.org
2 Timothy 4:9-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Abandoned Apostle
9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
The Lord Is Faithful
17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
1 Peter 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.