As Paul writes this letter near the end of his life, knowing death is imminent but uncertain, we get a picture of God’s faithfulness in the life of Paul. No matter what season of life you are in, we can all be built up in faith as we listen to an old saint like the Apostle Paul reflect on his life and the faithfulness of Jesus. There is a lot here but I want to focus on a couple reflections from 2 Tim 4:17. Here these encouragements from our friend the Apostle Paul and reflect on how you have seen Jesus faithfulness to you throughout your life.
JESUS’ PRESENCE HAS BEEN MY COMFORT
Paul experienced some serious suffering, but notice what he says after talking about being beaten and abandoned- “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…” As Paul looks back on what he went through he doesn’t feel that suffering meant Jesus had abandoned him, rather he finds comfort in the fact that in the midst of his worst suffering, Jesus was there. Jesus wasn’t there to remove the suffering, rather, He was there to strengthen Paul to go through the suffering. And because of that Paul learned dependence upon Jesus and that became his comfort.
JESUS IS FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISE
As Paul recounts Jesus strengthening him through suffering he says the reason was so that “the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” If you remember back to Acts 9:15, Jesus tells Ananias that Paul is “a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles…” Paul has clearly held on to that promise from Jesus and really believed that was what Jesus was going to do. Now at the end of his life he knows he was somewhat invincible not because of anything inherent in him, but rather because Jesus had a promise and was progressing that promise forward even when it looked to Paul like the message of the gospel was being squashed in the midst of his suffering.
Father, thank you for your faithfulness in the life of your church. Thank you for your faithfulness to our church. Thank you for your faithfulness to me, even in the midst of suffering, uncertainty, faithlessness, doubt, sin, and frustrations. Thank you for never leaving my side even when I am unfaithful to you. Thank you for loving me consistently, holding me tight, and never letting go. May your faithfulness to me continue, by your grace, and for your glory. Amen
by Pastor Ryan Stanley