2 Timothy 4:16-22
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 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. 18 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. 19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
This passage is written by Paul near the end of his life. He knows that he will probably be killed soon, but he is facing his end with great faith and courage. Deserted by others, he writes here that he does want it to be held against them. He knows that the Lord will rescue him, and by ‘rescue him’, he is meaning that his future is secure in heaven (typically not most people’s definition of ‘rescue’!).
How often do we limit God’s rescue to our earthly way of thinking? Sometimes the way God rescues people is by taking them to heaven. Death in Christ is not failure, it is the greatest victory. Death is not the end, it is only the beginning.
May we grow in the ability to look at things from an eternal perspective. May we speak and act like people who are sure of our future in God’s heavenly kingdom, not full of fear but full of faith.
Written by Shelley Witt