“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.
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.
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 Tim.4:16-18).
During this time, Paul was in prison in Rome. Paul knew as he wrote this letter that he was close to his death. He wrote the letter of encouragement to his beloved son Timothy.
Paul was reminded of times before when he was discouraged and how the Lord came to him and encouraged him.
I know there has been times in Paul life, when he would have liked to retreat, but he would find these words of encouragement, “I must go on!”
There will be times in our lives just like Paul, when we feel like retreating. How many times have we asked the question, “Is it really worth it ?” and feel like just giving up. What we need to do is just what Paul did. He was encouraged by the Word of God.
I. I MUST GO ON THOUGH I AM FORSAKEN
“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” (2 Tim.4:16).
Paul had written this before asking for someone to come to his defense; but no one cared to come.
One would think of all the people he led to the Lord and all the people he had ministered to that one would come to help him; but in this hour of need it seems that no one cared for him. There will be times in your life that you will need someone, if it will be a friend or your loved ones or the ones you ministered to, but in your hour of need you will have to walk alone.
I can remember when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane how He felt.
“And he cometh unto the disciples and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? (Matt.26:40).
The disciples tarried and fell asleep. Surely our Lord’s heart was broken and felt alone, but He knew He must still fulfill the will of His Father. Calvary was still ahead, but He still said ,“I Must Go On!”
II. I MUST GO ON THROUGH FORGIVENESS
What a man Paul was! His friends had forsaken him, and he prayed that God would forgive them. His enemies tried him, and Paul looked for the opportunities to tell these how they could be saved. Paul was willing to forgive and forget, this is the mark of a great man.
How many times have you said to those who betrayed you. “I ‘will get even!”
But the true mark of a Christian is to forgive and forget and pray for these who betrayed you.
“I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Tim.4:16).
That is why Jesus went to the cross, “I Must Go On”. That was the reason He could say, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke. 23:34).
III. I MUST GO ON BECAUSE I HAVE A FRIEND
“Not withstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.” (2 Tim.4:17).
Everyone was gone but there was one who is closer than a brother.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother ” (Prov.18:24).
The American Indians have a saying, a friend is, “one who bears my sorrow on his back.” Isn’t that what Jesus did for each of us?
We are told that Paul won many to the Lord, and we knew that if he did not go on that many would not have followed in his footsteps. Paul don’t want to be a stumbling block. I have seen many people retreat and return back to the world; or, you will see a young Christian will be hurt or disappointed and soon they have followed the same footsteps.
Paul knew in his heart that heaven would be worth it all. His loneliness would be turned to light. His sadness would be turned into happiness and his cross would returned for a crown.
Each of us bear that same hope for a blessed future. A future that will be with Jesus and our loved ones forever. That is the reason Paul as well as all of us don’t regret a mile we have to traveled for the Lord.