Human history ends with the final triumph of God through Jesus Christ.
He will reign forever as the Savior-King. Always bear this in mind, because the present time is characterized by struggle. We are God’s messengers calling sinners to enter into the kingdom by the gospel of Christ. All must be born again to see and enter the kingdom of God. The apostle Paul was one of the first messengers, and sometimes he stood alone. When writing to Timothy, he lamented, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Timothy 4:16a). The messenger of the king stands alone? Everyone abandoned him?
It seems so bleak, and yet, Paul did not blame anyone.
He continued, “May it not be charged against them” (2 Timothy 4:16b). He was not calling for justice against those who let him stand alone. Instead, he observed a more important truth. “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Timothy 4:17a). He was rejoicing in the faithful presence of the Lord empowering him to preach the gospel. And, the deliverance was amazing. “And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Timothy 4:17b). No one stood with him; no one saved him; no one, but the Lord! And this mighty deliverance greatly encouraged Paul’s heart to expect further victories in the future. “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).
The absence of human support caused Paul to rely fully on the Lord.
It is the Lord’s presence and power that enables us to minister in a world of darkness. Our hope is not in man. Our hope is only in the Lord who empowers His message and protects his messengers. Every messenger of the Lord from the apostles to the present has been safely delivered into the kingdom of heaven. No one has been lost. All have been delivered. The work of the ministry continues today with each one of us.
May the words of Paul be a great encouragement to our hearts as we boldly proclaim the gospel of Christ.
-Gary W. Custis