This morning I’m having a pity-party. My current course is not difficult, but putting my seat in the chair is becoming increasingly difficult. I’ve not a lot of time to spend with other people. My hubby is in great demand at work, which is taking most of his energy. I’ve no sense of “what next” or even if there is a “next” after I graduate in May. There are still four courses to go and that seems mountainous. I’m having dreams I’d rather not have, and am struggle with temptation to just do something other than take care of daily responsibilities. This is not burn-out; it feels more like rebellion.
Then I read about Paul. He told Timothy to be faithful at his task for the time would come when no one would listen to him. He said of himself that he was being “poured out as a drink offering” (that does not sound like fun) and that “the time of my departure has come.” He had “fought the good fight . . . finished the race . . . kept the faith” and looked forward to “the crown of righteousness” the Lord would award to him and to all who “loved his appearing.”
At this late stage of his life, he kept going, more concerned about the lives of others than his own. He had been imprisoned, harmed by others, and abandoned. He said, “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:1–18)
From this short account, I see things about Paul that kept him from having pity parties. He was a trooper who kept to the task, no matter what, because he . . .
· Realized God’s timing for his work was important
· Was willing to give of himself right to the end of his life
· Had no desire to lose the battle so kept moving forward
· Kept his eyes on the finish line
· Trusted Jesus every step of the way
· Thought about his eternal rewards
· Looked forward to seeing Jesus
· Did not resent those who had abandoned him
· Recognized that the Lord was always with him
· Drew on the Lord’s strength, not his own
· Considered that sharing the Gospel with others was more important than anything else
· Knew that his real enemy was Satan (who is like a roaring lion), not people
· Knew that the Lord would rescue him from all evil
· Was confident about his eternal destiny
· Was determined to glorify the Lord and not himself
My challenges are paltry compared to Paul’s, but I worship and serve the same God. The Lord’s timing, trustworthiness, and promises are the same for me as they are for anyone else He has brought into His family and given a task. He is with me. My enemy is not flesh and blood, or even my own attitude. It is that evil and stealthy lion who is trying to devour me.
But the same Savior who stood by Paul also stands by me. He will rescue me from my inward thinking and my reluctance to keep on. This task is for His glory, not for my comfort, so I need to put my eyes on Him and stop feeling sorry for myself.