At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me ... But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. (2 Timothy 4:16-17)
Do you hear Paul's disappointment in these words? And rightly so. He had led hundreds, if not thousands of people to the Lord. Churches were planted, the lordship of Jesus Christ was proclaimed and the Gospel was preached in many towns and countries. That led to his imprisonment and trial.
When he entered the courtroom he must have looked around to see where his friends, the Christians, were sitting. He saw no one. What a disappointment that must have been. The moment he needed them most, they were absent. In fact, it was even worse. Not only were they absent, they had deserted him.
One can find excuses for not being in the courtroom. Too dangerous, to busy with other things, maybe even praying for Paul at home. But "everyone deserted me" is done voluntarily. They wanted nothing to do with Paul.
We, who live in countries where we also have to appear in court, often feel like Paul. Forgotten, even deserted. "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." This wonderful experience does not relieve us of our responsibility. We have a part to play, willingly and lovingly. And so encourage a lonely brother in need.
Gustavo Figueroa from Cuba. An itinerant evangelist, he writes using a pseudonym.
Copyright [C] 1995 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
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Day by Day with the Persecuted Church
compiled by Jan Pit with a forward by Brother Andrew (paperback, revised 2000)
Compelling wisdom from the pen of actual believers living amidst persecution, you'll be connected to the suffering, courage, and depth of life that exists in the harshest places in the world. Each of these 365 thought-provoking devotions will deepen your understanding of Christian persecution and provoke you to pray for our brothers and sisters with a new found depth.