Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, 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. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
–2 Timothy 4:16-18
One of the greatest challenges in life for all people of faith is balancing discernment on the three-legged stool of God’s will, our predispositions, and input from others, both fellow believers and culture. Most of us want to claim a position on the single pedestal of God’s will. What are the checks and balances to assure that we are not projecting our will as God’s will? We could strengthen our discernment by checking it out with other believers, but we must deal with the possibility that they share our predispositions. We do tend to flock with those who are like us. Think KKK.
The author of 2 Timothy finds himself in just such a situation. We do not know what the issues were that caused him to lose all support. There are times when each of us may take the lonely stance of standing against either our fellow believers, our culture, or both when we attempt to stand with God. People of faith must train like a good athlete. We must work to maintain a constant relationship with God, which includes turning all those personal predispositions over to God. God’s healing mercies can and will return us to wholeness when events of the past cloud our perceptions.
I am so glad those who canonized the Bible included the story of Gideon. (Judges 6) Gideon, who was not a warrior, felt called by God to lead and army. Gideon asked for a specific sign from God to assure that leading an army was in his future. He received the assurance. He then practiced the philosophy of believe but verify and asked for a backup sign and got it also. Gideon led the army to a successful conclusion. We all need to hear this story and understand that when our perceptions of ourselves or situations are getting in the way of our doing what we are called to do, God will help us through the dilemma as long as we trust the Lord to guide us.
Prayer: Lord of Mercy, strengthen our weak knees and give us the courage to do the things you are calling us to do. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.