2Ti 4:16-18 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! (17) But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. (18) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
A good friend recently reminded me of these verses and I referred to them last Sunday in my sermon on the cost of following Christ. When you belong to Christ, you will at one time or another experience loneliness. Being alone. Being deserted. Targets of evil are not popular with the world, you know.
Standing for Christ often means exposing evil. Jesus said that we are the light of the world and the fact is, darkness hates the light because its deeds are evil. Jesus said so. So when you shine for Christ, most people, including many/most professing Christians, are going to distance themselves from you. They don’t want to pay the price of shining.
The result? Aloneness. If you think carefully through the Bible, thinking of the Lord’s true people – Moses, Elijah, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, and of course the Lord Jesus Himself, what do you find? Largely, they stood alone, hated by the world.
And this is why Christ’s true church is so important. Nowadays we have quite a hard time finding it, but I suppose that has always been the case. Trying to seek out the true people of God is a hard business and often we are met with disappointments when we thought we finally connected and it turns out what we thought was gold was in fact lead with gold paint. Nevertheless, we pray that the Lord would enable us to connect with His real people.
Notice thought hat Paul gives us great encouragement with the encouragement he experienced in his aloneness: “But the Lord stood by me.” Ultimatley, there is our comfort. The truth is, if we know Christ, if we are really born again, we are never really alone.
Amen, Pastor!! Lonely but never truly alone. I experienced that as a single mom as well. The Lord Himself was with me, providing comfort, financial provision, and encouragement. What a Savior we have!!
What strikes me about the aloneness that we see in scripture with those who walk with God is a great contradiction to the message most churches proclaim. They act as if those who walk alone with God are somehow sinning by neglecting their brethren, instead of asking why God’s people depart from the church? Where is their compassion? Their brotherly love? Their charity? Waiting for the next smooth talker who says all the right things, yet whose motives are not pure. They have none for the wounded sheep because that would require a shift in worldview. They quite like the one they have, and will defend it with everything they have.
They don’t know the pain, the wounds, the trials those Christians who walk alone face. It’s not that we want to be alone 24/7. It’s that when we’ve sought fellowship with professing saints, we’ve been devoured and left to fend for ourselves. Until the visible church does the housecleaning scripture commands and creates safe places for God’s children, many of them will remain outside the church, seeking the face of their heavenly father in private as they heal from the wounds inflicted on them by those who claim to love Christ, yet behave wickedly.
To walk alone with God is better than to walk anywhere else without him. While we do need our fellow believers and are called to love them, finding them isn’t nearly as easy as one would think. Too many the profess Christ aren’t his.
So we watch, we study – taking everything captive comparing it to what scripture says so that we may discern the genuine from the fake – and walk with God every step of the way, knowing in the end, we win. Justice will prevail. Our mourning will turn to laughter. Our pain to joy. Our sickness to perfect health as we enjoy eternity with Christ and his saints.
After darkness comes the dawn. What a glorious future it will be with Christ in paradise.
Love this. So well said.
Good timing! I really needed that today. Not many stood by me, exposing evil when I stood up in church. Kicked out, divorced and alone, but not forsaken. He has made a way to freedom from oppression, lies and mistreatment. He opened the doors and I ran. Blessings
“But the👆🏽Lord stood with me and gave me strength” is one of my go-to Scriptures.
The ice cold slap in the face of mass desertion, betrayals, shunning, smears and defamation…after exposing and holding accountable criminally and vocally the evil of abuse by my falsely professing Christian family of origin was a shock to my entire system. My extended family and lifelong family friends (also professing Christians) CHOOSING to enable and cover up abuse all my life and make me the villain for exposing them is something that I’m still working to get over. How easily they all chose to stand with my lifelong abusers as they’d done all my life. Complicit in the evil of abuse.
At first it was disorienting to be alone in the world without any family or friends except my husband. But then I realized I NEVER had a family! Never had Christian relatives or friends. They were all wolves. I was a truthteller and therefore dangerous to them all. Their act they’d honed for decades posing as “Christians” was in jeopardy by my openly exposing them. And yes, they also hated the Light of Jesus in me because they CHOOSE to live in darkness because it’s more comfortable, convenient and popular for them there. As you say, Pastor Crippen, “Broadway”! It’s more fun and populated and jazzy there among all their fellow phonies in love with this world and not fearing the God Who will send them all into eternal hell.
But there came a time when it was my calm CHOICE to cut ties with all of them. The fence sitters, the ones who wanted to stay neutral and friendly with the abusers and us-their victims. They tried to send “emissaries” to find out info about me and my life without them. I gave them nothing. And one by one anyone left who remained on good terms with the wolves became unacceptable people for me to keep in my life. The culling I was now choosing became a blessing to me. This could not have been so if God had not stood with me and given me strength. God delivered me from all of them. What I had first seen as a shocking mass betrayal became my full escape from a “clan” of false Christians embracing abusers, abuse and its culture. God parted the Red Sea for me to escape them and He then closed it up again behind me. And it will remain so forever-NEVER looking back. And NEVER alone! Jesus has been Immanuel all throughout. Never leaving my side. My husband and I are still alone together several years after our initial isolation. Finding God’s true people is really hard. So I leave it to Him to send or not send His people into our life. He’s always been faithful and always will be to do what’s best for me. Alone but not lonely, as Veronica said.
So encouraging! Thank you!
Thank you for the encouragement. Having people who have walked the journey and understand helps so much as well.