“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. — Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me” (2Tim. 4:16,17).
My soul, think of the apostle’s situation, when brought as a prisoner, for Jesus’s sake, before the council, and deserted by all. Nay, look to an infinitely greater than Paul, when hurried away to Pilate, and when all his disciples forsook him and fled. Make improvement of the view of both, as it may be profitable to thyself and thine own circumstances. There is a period coming, and, for aught thou knowest, may be near indeed, in which no man can stand with thee; in which the kindest earthly friend, if thou hast any, or the tenderest-hearted neighbour, cannot minister to thy safety. When thou art going down to the valley of the shadow of death, and the Lord is undressing thee for Jordan’s river, think of that season, and how blessed must it then be to say, with Paul, ‘Though no man hath stood with me, or can stand, yet Jesus will be with me to strengthen me.’ Oh ! what blessedness is in this sweet word, notwithstanding! Though all friends fail, though creatures of every description, and every degree, stand aloof, unable to help; though in thyself thou hast nothing, thou art nothing, yea, by reason of sin and unworthiness, art worse than nothing, and can merit nothing; notwithstanding all these, the Lord will be there, and he will stand by thee, and strengthen thee. Precious Jesus! I need no more, I desire no other; nay, I pray every other to depart, and leave a dying man alone: for humbly shall I say, as my Lord hath said before me, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” And who shall say, how Jesus may bless me in these solemn seasons? Who shall describe what passeth between Jesus and my soul then? May there not be many sweet love-tokens then given by Jesus to his people, which before, to have shewn, would have lessened the exercise of faith? Will not then some more enlarged views of divine love and faithfulness break out to lighten up the passage of death? Oh! For grace, until the hour arrives, to walk by faith in this soul-supporting and soul-refreshing hope! And when the moment comes, who shall speak, or even conceive the blessedness of realizing the sweet promise of Jesus, which all the redeemed rejoice in, but none below have ever fully apprehended equal to its vast extent: ” At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you !” (John 14:20).
The reading for today is an excerpt from “The Poor Man’s Morning and Evening Portions” by Robert Hawker.