2 Timothy 4: 6 – “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.”
At the time of writing this letter [2 Timothy] to Timothy, Paul the Apostle was in the Roman prison awaiting execution.
Being a Roman citizen, he had the ‘privilege’ of being beheaded. It was a time of loneliness and pain. This was probably the last letter that Paul wrote and from the contents it is obvious that the solitude was taking its toll on him.
Loneliness is something that we all go through at some point or the other in life. It could be the result of the loss of a loved one, betrayal or being misunderstood. Loneliness if not dealt with wisely will lead to self-pity, which breeds depression. We are prone to take wrong-decisions in such times that will lead to destruction. Although Paul’s hardships were severe, his focus in the letter is to encourage young Timothy to be faithful! From this letter of Paul to Timothy, we can learn few lessons on dealing with loneliness.
Bring the scroll
2 Timothy 4: 13 – “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.”
Paul was a highly intellectual man. He was tutored in the Law under Gamaliel [Acts 22:3], and knew the Word of God better than most men in his time. However, during the time of loneliness, he asks Timothy to bring him the scroll or parchments. This was probably the Word of God. When you are lonely run to the Bible and let God speak to you through His Word! While reading the Bible, keep a prayer journal at hand and jot down what God speaks to you through it. In lonely times read through this to build your spirit. The Bible is your scroll of comfort!
Battle belongs to the Lord
2 Timothy 4:14, 15 – “14Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words..”
Paul then warns Timothy about a man who had hurt him. Nevertheless, he chooses not to seek revenge or harm Alexander but hands him over to God! When you are lonely, the mind will dwell on those that hurt you. But God tells us not to seek revenge. God will repay those that hurt you; the battle belongs to the Lord! [Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35; 1 Samuel 17:47] You must remain in a state of SHALOM – having confidence and understanding that God is with you and He will not harm you in any way. Trust God to vindicate you!
Be prepared for lonely times
2 Timothy 4: 16 – “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
Loneliness is a reality that we must face and be prepared for. It is not an abnormal event. Paul was deserted by all; He was all alone. This portion of Scripture has the heading, “The Abandoned Apostle’, in speaking about Paul’s predicament. There will be lonely stretches in your Christian walk. Jesus the Son of God also went through the pain of abandonment on the cross of Calvary. [Matthew 27:46].
Breakthrough in God’s presence
2 Timothy 4: 17 – “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…….”
Here is where we have the answer. Paul found strength during the lonely times in the Presence of God! This is where we find our breakthrough! God stood by Paul’s side and strengthened him. David at Ziglag [2 Samuel 30:6] went through similar pain when his army and people turned against him when the Amalekites had raided their territory and captured their family and possessions. However we see that David found strength in God’s presence. When you are alone, spend time in prayer and let God’s presence give you the strength to move on.
Being fruitful in season and out of season!
2 Timothy 4: 17 …………… so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear.
In spite of the pain that Paul was going through, he did not stop preaching! He advised Timothy to be ready in season and out of season [2 Timothy 4:2], and practiced what he preached! He was more concerned and focused on reaching as many people as he could before he was executed. Interestingly, he asks for Mark with whom he had some disparity and separated. At the end of his life, in the time of loneliness, he sees things in a different perspective. He seeks to restore his relationship with the young disciple! In times of loneliness reach out to others in need.
Just as Paul turned Timothy’s attention to the faithfulness of God, we too must be brutally focused on God. God delivered Paul many times in during his ministry and the same God will deliver you too! He is faithful!
Because of He lives!
Rev. Dr. Ernest V. George
Founder & Senior Pastor