2 Timothy 4:17
“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
Paul said in the previous verse, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:…” This must have been a very lonely time for the Apostle Paul. You can only imagine how he felt inside as those whom he helped seemed to be nowhere in sight. However, he discovered a presence and a strength that comes from loneliness, and that presence and strength was the LORD. He discovered the presence he should have stayed focused upon when everyone else was gone was the presence of the LORD.
Everybody will at some point find themselves in Paul’s position. There are times when you know you are doing right, but it seems like everyone else around you is falling like flies. It should be that those around you should be your greatest strength when you are standing for right, but you will quickly discover that standing and doing right is a lonely position. There are several lessons you can learn from Paul standing that will help you when it seems that all men have forsaken you.
First, it will get tough to stand. If standing were easy, everyone would stand. The reason all men forsook Paul is because most men don’t have the strength to stand. You will discover the spiritual weakness of men when you have to take a stand for right. You are going to have to learn that most people don’t have the spiritual strength to stand when times demand that you stand.
Second, it will become lonely to stand. When others leave you, you are going to discover that your nearest friend is often loneliness. I know that this doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but it is a true picture of what you will have to endure to stand.
Third, the battle to stand is a mental battle. The greatest battle you will fight while standing will be in your mind. Satan will use the loneliness and the onslaught against you while standing to bring doubts and fears into your mind that you must fight off. My friend, don’t succumb to the mental battle. Claim 2 Corinthians 10:5 that commands you to cast “down imaginations.”
Fourth, standing is where you find the LORD. The greatest thing about people forsaking you is you discover the presence who has always been with you, and that presence is the LORD. The LORD has always stood with you, but it is not as easy to see His presence while others were applauding you in the good times. The greatest discovery you will find in the lonely times of standing is the presence of the LORD who stands alongside you.
Fifth, strength comes from standing. You will notice that the LORD strengthens you while you are standing. The LORD never strengthens you in retreat, but He strengthens you AS you stand. The moment you step back from standing is the moment you lose the strength you need to make it through your lonely times.
Sixth, the LORD is your strength. My friend, your strength is the LORD. You will find that the strength is that the LORD is helping you. If you don’t quit, you will find the greatest strength that you can use throughout life, and that strength is the LORD.