"...everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
But evil people and impostors will flourish.
They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught.
You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you."
- 2 Timothy 3:12-14 (NLT)
There are days when I don't feel equipped to be the encourager.
Days when the weight and heaviness of circumstances around me consume me because of a heart broken out of love for those involved.
I wonder, how I can give godly advice and share wisdom when I too am in pain because of a situation. Where do I begin? And in some cases, what can I even say when I have zero ability to change anything?
Yesterday was one of those days.
So, I turned to God's word, looking for something, anything to help me make sense of it all. Something to help them make sense of it all.
As is his way, I didn't have to look too far.
Our Pastor had spoken from 2 Timothy 3 on Sunday. While he focused on the final verses of that chapter, my reading drew me up the page to verses 12 - 14.
The Apostle Paul had written this book to Timothy from prison.
And not the cushy house prison he'd been held in before.
No, this was Emperor Nero's prison. Dark. Smelly. Cold. Raw.
Not the place you want to find yourself anytime, much less the end of your life. But that's exactly where Paul was. And he knew he was going to die soon.
Paul didn't waste his last words on lament and regret. Didn't focus on his situation or circumstances - even though he could have.
He chose instead to pour out his heart and soul in a loving torrent of words to the young man he considered his son in the faith. This final letter of Paul's was full of encouragement, instruction and hope. Hope even when things seemed bleakest.
And what does he write?
We will suffer persecution.
Evil people will flourish.
They will deceive others.
Check. Check. Check.
My situation had all that and then some.
But it's what Paul says next that grabbed my heart and would not let go.
"But you must remain FAITHFUL to the things you have been taught."
God whispered, "Hold on to what you know.
You know my words are true.
I was with Paul in the dungeon and I am with you and your loved ones even now."
So even though we are persecuted.
Even though we see evil and false people flourish.
Even though they attempt to deceive us.
God is still greater than all of that.
He is faithful and so I, we, must remain faithful.
And hold on to what we know.
With a Courageous Heart,