Sometimes our friends fail us. Sometimes we fail our friends. These are not happy times. Paul could not have felt very good when he wrote, "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me" (2 Tim. 4:16). He was in prison in Rome and he was brought before the judge. None of his friends showed up that day. In the last chapter of Romans he mentions over 30 friends by name. None of them came to court to encourage and support him. How would that make you feel? But noticed how Paul handled his disappointment. In the same verse he goes on to write, "May it not be held against them." Isn't that gracious? Isn't that charitable? We can learn from Paul when friends fail us in a time of need. But there was One who did not fail Paul. Look at the next verse. "But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth" (v. 17). Standing somewhere in the shadows you'll find Jesus. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will give you strength when others do not show. He will empower you to fulfill your purpose in life. He will deliver you from lion that goes about seeking to devour our souls. The next time you feel abandoned or let down by a friend, remember Paul and his amazing attitude of grace and forgiveness.
Strength for Today
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