Remain Faithful in the Eyes of Adversity
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
"Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:14-18 NIV)
There are many people who turn away from the truth because they have been hurt, discouraged, tired, and many other reasons. There are people throughout the world losing their lives speaking and standing up for the truth of the gospel. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy to encourage him not to give up the faith. So many people seek possessions that will fade away. We are to beware of false teachings and every evil work. Paul encourages us to seek God. God will deliver us from every evil attack. There are times that deliverance does not come instantly. Waiting on the Lord is worth it; your strength will be renewed.
Paul warns Timothy that Alexander is a dangerous man. As he has troubled Paul, he could well attack Timothy. He opposed the Christian teachers as they taught the truth. He was an enemy of the gospel of Christ. He may also have spoken in the courts against Paul. Paul is not asking the Lord to punish him. This is not a prayer but a statement of fact. The Lord will punish him for the evil that he has done.
The Christian life is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. Since finishing a marathon well is not easy, when you see a person who sprints across the finish line, you ought to try to find out her/his secret. The apostle Paul was such a man. It is as if he has crossed the finish line with energy to spare. He jogs back to where Timothy seems to be losing steam and exhorts him to keep running well. In our text, it is clear that Paul is looking death in the face. His words must have caused Timothy to burst into tears when he first read them. In addition, these words must have sobered Timothy with the reality that Paul had handed off the baton to him. Now, he had to finish well and keep the faith.
As the song says, Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace. His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
Lord, help me to keep the faith when Alexander’s cross my path to do me harm. May I continue to keep my eyes on you; thank you God for keeping me safe in life’s dangerous paths. You are my keeper and sustainer no matter what comes my way.