As I read Paul's letter to Timothy, I felt his passionate pleading with his son in the faith. Over and over again, Paul exhorted Timothy to keep going. He did not want to see him fall in battle, or turn back, as others had. He wanted to see Timothy as a good soldier for Christ.
I also could sense Paul pleading with Timothy to not be ashamed of the persecutions that Paul was enduring for the sake of the Gospel. It was noted at the end of the letter that this was Paul's second letter to Timothy, after his second appearance before Nero. It is well known in history that Nero was a wicked man, especially towards the followers of Christ. It is not surprising to me, then, that so many forsook Paul, and recoiled at the "stink" of persecution. Nero was inhumane to Christians...To put it lightly.
However, Onesiphorus sought out Paul, going as far as Rome, to minister unto him. What faith! What brotherly love! In spite of all those who turned away when the going got rough, Onesiphorus went straight into the lion's den. Paul greatly needed that support, and made sure to note it in his letter to Timothy.
I also noticed Paul's great desire to see Timothy. Paul knew that his time on earth was near ending, and was asking for such personal effects as his cloke, some books, and some parchments. I saw such an intimate bond, to ask for such things, as well as ask Timothy to hurry. Over and over again, I saw such a fatherly tenderness in his speech with this dear son in the faith.
I saw all the exhortation to keep preaching the true Gospel, the true doctrines of Christ, and to avoid the false teachers who like to seduce (and successfully do so) silly women and those who have become weary of hearing the truth preached. He told him to hang in there, not give up, to know it is only going to get worse. Over and over, I felt as though Paul was preparing Timothy, (his spiritual son), for life on earth without him in it. I nearly cried.
I was so incredibly thankful for God letting me see this side to this epistle. It has always been easy to overlook things when reading; by reading as a textbook, or in a hurry, or always purposing to find some great spiritual truth. Reading it how it was meant to be read, to whom it was written, etc., and allow God to speak rather than trying to make Him speak, has blessed me many times over.
This epistle has encouraged me as a woman of Christ. I was moved at the passion in which Paul wrote, under God's inspiration. Though I am no preacher, nor ever will be, and never will be a pastor, I want to never be ashamed of the Gospel. I want to lived with a full-fledged love of the Lord and His Word. I want to minister to folks according to His will, even when the going gets rough.
I thank God that He has ever been so gracious and merciful to me. I know I have never had to face such an evil emperor like Nero. I know I have not had those I love in the faith turn their backs on me, like Paul experienced. I know that I have not had to ask folks not to be ashamed of my testimony in Christ, due to being persecuted for it.
I need to be more willing to speak to that grocery clerk about Christ when He prompts me to do so. I need to say "Praise the Lord," when He answers a prayer, even if it is at the doctor's office. I need to be joyful in Christ, even if others are uncomfortable with the love for Him He's given me to express for His glory.
Thank You, Lord, for getting me to read your Word this morning. Thank You for opening my eyes to something so beautiful, so passionate, so alive. May I, my family, and my home always be on fire for You, even when it is unpopular.