I was studying in 2 Timothy 4 this morning where in verse 9, Paul tells Timothy to “do your best to come to me soon.” Clearly, as Paul goes on in that passage, some things have not gone well. He has been abandoned by everyone, even having one guy, Alexander the Coppersmith, doing him “great harm.” I don’t know if he is speaking of harm ministerially or personally, but having gone through similar circumstances, I can tell you that it’s likely both. It’s hard to be harmed ministerially without feeling it personally and visa-versa.
What Paul says demonstrates something very important: even though Paul says a few verses later that God’s presence and deliverance was all he ultimately needed, he greatly desired the personal touch of someone who would support and encourage him. That being his dear son in the faith, Timothy.
During my first shoulder surgery two years ago, I felt very alone. It was a really difficult time in my life when Karen couldn’t get off work and I was at the hospital going through surgery completely alone. I remember how difficult that was for me. I desired for there to be someone to “come to me soon.”
This time was very different. Karen was able to get off work and I had so many people calling and posting messages of support, telling me that they were praying for me right then or had just prayed for me (which gives comfort even more than a simple “I will pray for you”. Not that that’s in any way bad and much appreciated, but we know how often we say that and then unintentionally forget to actually pray).
At the end of the day, like Paul recognized, God’s presence and provision is all that we really need. However, so much of His provision is channeled through human beings. I don’t ever want to forget that. I want to make every effort to be fully present in the lives of those around me that I’ve been privileged to have in my life.
What about you? Can you remember a time in your life where you felt abandoned and alone or where you felt so blessed to be surrounded by those who cared and delivered God’s provision to you? What was that like and what did you learn from that experience? If you’d be willing to share your wisdom, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.