“At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, SO THAT THROUGH ME the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear;”

– {2 Tim 4:16-17}

 

Note he was forsaken, forgiving, filling, focused.

He was forsaken, “all deserted me,” no one stood with him, identified with him, but left him in his hour of need. His response? He was Forgiving. He Was like His Lord upon the Cross, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” And Stephen when being stoned, for his stand for Christ, also, did not want it held against them. And Paul in this lineage of love extends forgiveness. It was not a feeling but a choice of Love that influenced Him. The cross of Christ, His banner. He was not bitter, vengeful, but in the  pressure cooker and pain, he extends love as his response in the form of forgiveness. He was not, nor did he see himself as a “super hero,” but dependent, upon the LORD to give him the inward strength he needed to speak and proclaim the Gospel. The LORD supplied! He was a dependent man and he received strength in his hour to proclaim the Gospel. His focus was not on his hurt, himself, but on the enemies, his cruel captors hearing the message of liberation. True, they thought they held his life in their hands, but his life had long been lost when entrusted into the Hands of the Nail Scarred One. But for His grace they would die in their sins and Paul was commissioned, strengthened to speak the words of liberation to those in spiritual bondage. Amazing love of the Lord Jesus.

In your tough times, trust Him to be eternal conscious. Choose love and forgiveness and focus on those before you, whom He died for and loves! Like having your bigger brother show up and stand beside you when bullies gather around you, so the Sovereign, Resurrected One stands with you. Be aware you are not alone, or outside His care. He holds their breath in His hands. It is the mercy and grace of God that He extends such patience not willing any perish but all come to repentance. There is no guarantee He will keep you from physical harm or from verbal abuse but there is the assurance He has taken care of your eternal welfare. He stands with you. He strengthens you to fulfill His purpose, “SO THAT  THROUGH ME…” you will proclaim His liberating Gospel. You are a choice servant here today, for His cause, and the benefit of others, even your enemies. But look who stands with you.

Look at why He strengthens you. You are sufficient for this moment! You can extend forgiveness because you have been forgiven! You can speak up because He strengthens you. A call to trust, a call to tell. He stands with you, supplying you strength to server and share His Liberating Gospel!