At my first defense, no one came to my assistance, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so the proclamation might be fully made through me, and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
2 Timothy 4:16-18
Times of aloneness and of helplessness come to all of God’s children. Paul’s experience was just one of many such moments in the lives of believers. His was the aloneness of persecution, when out of fear others forsook him. But there are other kinds of aloneness - the aloneness of cancer, the aloneness of debt, the aloneness of joblessness, and countless other varieties.
In moments of weakness, we are learning something about ourselves, about life, and about God. Perhaps all we are able to do is to endure, to get through the crisis and hope that a catharsis of peace is on the other side.
But let’s remember that in our weakness is God’s strength made perfect, in our humility is God’s favor found, and in our brokenness is authentic life experienced. These experiences of weakness, humility, and brokenness always have the potential to lead to a greater experience with God. Roy Hession wrote:
Brokenness, however, is but the beginning of Revival. Revival itself is being absolutely filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, and that is victorious living. If we were asked this moment if we were filled with the Holy Spirit, how many of us would dare to answer “yes”? Revival is when we can say “yes” at any moment of the day. It is not egoistic to say so, for filling to overflowing is utterly and completely God’s work - it is all of grace. All we have to do is to present our empty, broken self and let Him fill and keep filled. Andrew Murray says, “Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in.” The picture that has made things simple and clear to so many of us is that of the human heart as a cup, which we hold out to Jesus, longing that He might fill it with the Water of Life. Jesus is pictured as bearing the golden water pot with the Water of Life. As He passes by, He looks into our cup and if it is clean, He fills to overflowing with the Water of Life. And as Jesus is always passing by, the cup can be always running over.
Are you weak and tired today? Do you feel abandoned, perhaps forgotten? God is still with you and will never forsake you or forget you. The suffering you are experiencing today is only a prelude to a deeper and more lasting joy. God has allowed it, and there are many such experiences in the Christian life, so that you will long for a more profound experience with Him. Personal need precedes personal growth.
Lord, we need to be silent before You often, to listen to Your voice, to humble ourselves, to recognize our weakness. Remind us also of Your strength, of Your love, of Your grace. Renew our hope. Amen.