When The Going Gets Tough…, Part 2of5, Evans Olang

2Timothy 2:1-13, vs. “2 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”

The epistle of 2Timothy are the final words of the great Apostle Paul to his own son in the faith Timothy. It’s an exhortation to Timothy to stand strong in the face of insurmountable difficulties ahead. As the final writing of Paul, it is tender, sympathetic, tearful, and yet heroic and stately. Paul is preparing his young son in the faith Timothy for the perilous times ahead as a believer, as a pastor, as a son, as a citizen, and as a brother.

Three times in 2Timothy the note of suffering hardship is mentioned (1:8; 2:3; 4:5), indicating the need for Timothy’s encouragement. Paul instructs Timothy to be a “good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2:3). The whole tenor of the epistle is a note of encouragement and who better to encourage Timothy than an aged warrior ready to die. Of all the people I have read in the bible, I only know of Paul who understood clearly what awaited him in the future for the sake of the call. Right from his conversion in Acts 9, we are told, “15. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” The other well known person we know that bore the “must suffer” was our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was in God’s will, and suffering was part of God’s sovereign plan for his life. God had a wonderful plan for Paul’s life, listen to that plan, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.” Acts 20:23.

For example, think of vehicles, they have shock absorbers for a reason. The makers prepared them for potholes they may encounter in the future. What do shock absorbers do, in a vehicle it reduces the effect of traveling over tough ground, leading to improved ride quality, and increase in comfort due to substantially reduced amplitude of disturbances. Without shock absorbers, the vehicle would have a bouncy ride. Have you ever driven on a highway or any road that was so smooth then out of nowhere you hit a pothole? These are the reasons the vehicles have shock absorbers to prepare you and the vehicle for what is to come hence reduce the impact and the damage.

Paul had his shock absorbers on from day one, and here we see him helping Timothy get his own shock absorbers while also preparing others too. Paul accepted the call knowing what was ahead of him. As “Must suffer” may not be for us all, we know as believers, we are not exempt. We are praying and hoping that we don’t have to suffer but God’s sovereign will must prevail for His own glory. I trust for change but if He has to take me through a different road, I ask for grace and strength to stand and endure. It’s hard to pray “Thy will be done”. Those who can boldly pray “Thy will be done” are those who have already prayed “Thy kingdom come”. I ask for my shock absorbers for the potholes in this journey of life. On my own I’m unable, I don’t know how I would make it without His grace.

In the next few devotions,  I will pick out three things Paul encouraged Timothy with as he would face hardship in his journey ahead. Begin to seek God to prepare you for the days, years to come. The road may get bumpy, you may hit potholes with your job, family, marriage, children. I hope I’m not scaring you, that’s not my intention. A good general will prepare his troops for the battle ahead. To quote Paris Reidhead, “Good preparation is service”. To continue. Blessings Ev

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