The writer of this devotion has no way to know your present situation and circumstances. But what I do know, by experience, is to have all men forsake me; and then to have the Lord stand with me and strengthen me in the midst of the deepest valley I had ever experienced.
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me…” (2 Timothy 4:16)
“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me…” (2 Timothy 4:17)
Job had a similar experience. He even said what he had feared the most had now become a reality in his life. He had lost his children, his health, his wealth, his friends, and even his wife. His responses to his three interrogating friends were: I am righteous; I have sinned against no man; I have followed my God; I have kept His commandments; I have loved God and my neighbor. And yet he found himself in the greatest test of his entire life. He had lost everything and had no answer from God as to why.
Sometimes there is a period of time between when the storm comes upon you and strips you of everything that you loved and considered as valuable, precious, and priceless – and the time when you feel His Presence with you.
God sets up these tests in our life as He did in Job’s case, to cause us to see:
- We are not perfect; “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Therefore, we need daily confession; confessing our insufficiency and depending upon God’s sufficiency.
- The only good in us is the Righteousness of Christ.
- We need to see that God demands communion with Him first; and not good works.
- We need to be stripped of all things, so that we see we have no strength against the enemy except in God’s strength.
- We must bow to the Sovereignty of God and His appointments for us, that we be conformed to His Image.
- Health, wealth, family, position, and reputation – all things are in His Hand; and not in our might, our strength, etc.
But make no mistake; God did not test Job or any of His Servants, even you, without a plan and purpose:
- To bring you into His Fellowship;
- To make you fit for His Purpose for you by sending you to the Potter’s House to remake the marred vessel; to be fit to be filled with His Spirit; to submit to His Word and obey His Word and endure in His Word – no matter the outward circumstances.
- To cause you to depend upon Him and Him alone. To learn what Paul learned in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
- To cause you not to turn back in the face of the attack of the enemy when you are hated for living, for standing and preaching the truth of God.
Be ready for all to forsake you. Luke 14:26-33 exhorts you to count the cost before picking up His Cross and following Him. This cost can be very great.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
Be ready to stand alone. Paul said, “no man stood with me.” Yes, Paul was all alone. So it happened to our Savior in the Garden the night before His trial, conviction, and crucifixion; “…Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56b).
So it may be where you are at this very moment. But by God’s Sovereign Plan, this small devotion found its way to you to encourage you. Paul was quick to inform us, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me…” (2 Timothy 4:17).
Christ did this with Joseph in prison, and exalted him. He did this with the three men in the fiery furnace; He did this with Daniel in the lions’ den. He did this with Paul and Silas in prison; and with every Child of God that is in need. For He promised “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). And He stood with Paul and strengthened him; as He did with Stephen in Acts 7, as they stoned Stephen to death.
Reader, stand still and wait. Immerse yourself in the Promises of God (Isaiah 40:29-31; 43:2, 4; and hundreds more). God cannot lie; He has and He will honor all His Promises. He will stand up and fight your battles and give you strength in life and in death.
Many times, when tests come to us, we need to know who God is and who we are (Deuteronomy 8:1-8). We also need patience to have her perfect work, that we be perfect, entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5).
Remember, when your darkest hour comes, the Light shines the brightest. The entire journey of the Child of God is to fit us for His Service now and for eternity; to bring us to see that God is our Strength, and our Sanctification, and our Salvation. The journey is first for God’s Glory; and second for our good, and to change and conform us to His Image.
Whether it be Joseph, the three Hebrew men, Daniel, the Apostles Stephen and Paul; it is for the world to see the love and grace of God operative in His Children; to bring Him honor and glory.
When you stand for truth; and all men forsake you – Reader, get ready for the greatest communion with Jesus Christ.