December 16, 2021
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; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17-18)
One of the most wonderful, encouraging, and challenging books I’ve ever read is “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. It is a story of the persecuted church in China, told from heaven’s perspective. Like all of Alcorn’s books, it is solidly based on biblical truth and is a must read for all who long to know the truth about this world and the next.
FOR THE FAITHFUL
God has unique blessings for those who fully follow Him, especially in the face of persecution. Other than Christ Himself, Paul was the ultimate example and worthy of study and emulation. Notice what God provided for him as he “fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith.”
“The Lord stood with me” is not a symbolic statement but a vibrant reality. Like Daniel who was not alone in the lion’s den or the three Hebrew brothers in the fiery furnace who were joined by a “fourth man,” Christ was there. And, if you have the presence of Christ, you have all you need.
Those who do God’s will need strength beyond themselves. Strength for everything. When Christ is with you, you never face a person or circumstance that is greater than the strength He provides. “I can do ALL things, through Christ who strengthens me,” Paul proclaimed (Philippians 4:13).
You would not think this was an accurate statement from Paul, or he went through many troubles. God didn’t keep him from being shipwrecked, whipped, or stoned and left for dead for his faith, but God did rescue him and kept him going after each persecution. Strength during the trouble, rescue after the trouble. Paul’s definitive statement was, “The Lord WILL rescue me from EVERY evil deed.” God did and God will for those who trust Him.
He was utterly convinced that, at the perfect time, God would bring him “safely to His heavenly kingdom.” It was safe passage, and it was passage not to Paul’s kingdom and not an earthly kingdom. It was to the eternal where there is no persecution but eternal, lasting reward.
Through the worst the world would throw and even the desertion of supposed friends, Paul had peace. Someone was with him, and he was headed to the best, safest possible place for all of eternity.
Father, we’re overwhelmed by Your constant, watchful care for us. Thank You that allow difficulties so Your power in us can be a testimony to a watching world. But that You deliver us in the best, most important ways. You are with us, and that’s all we need, and You are taking us safely home.
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