I’m sure all of us can attest to the fact that it’s great to have friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding us and cheering us on in life. God created us with a desire to be part of a community and most of the time being part of a community works for our benefit and the benefit of others since none of us is sufficient to do absolutely everything by ourselves.
However, there may be times when we will have to stand alone because God may call us personally to do something. It may not be God’s perfect will for us to be alone in fulfilling a certain task for the Father, but sometimes circumstances beyond our control happen where people use their free will to abandon us in a time of need or things happen which hinder our cheering section from being available for us. Those are the times when our resolve to be faithful to the Lord is really put to the test.
The apostle Paul faced this type of situation toward the end of his life as he was on trial before the Roman emperor Nero. In 2 Timothy he gives an account of what happened:
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4
Paul found himself alone. All fellow believers who had been part of his ministry and had traveled with him took off when the going got tough. It was wrong of them to leave him hanging like that because it showed their lack of faith in God since it was God who told Paul to testify of him at Rome (Acts 23:11). Nevertheless, Paul graciously asked God to forgive them for their wrong, which showed his loving concern for their weak spiritual state.
Yet, when Paul realized he was alone, he also came to the realization he wasn’t really alone. He experienced the prophecy Jesus gave in Matthew 10:17-20 when the Lord said the Spirit would give them what they should say when they are brought before governors and kings. Paul felt the Lord strengthen him in his spirit and he preached before Nero as well as the other Gentiles in Rome and was not thrown to the lions at his first hearing before the emperor. The Lord encouraged Paul so much that the apostle had all confidence he would be delivered from every evil on this earth as God would preserve his soul for the heavenly kingdom.
Although my life has never been on the line like Paul’s was, I can relate to what he went through. There have been times where I was the only Christian in college classes and I was moved to defend the Bible and the gospel by myself when professors decided to attack it. I have also been employed in workplaces where I was given opportunities to share God’s word in situations where no other Christian was willing to do so. I can look back and see how God used those times to mold me into what I’ve become thus far even if I still have quite a ways to go in my spiritual walk.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Psalm 27:10
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:14-16
Harry A. Gaylord