“When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (2 Timothy 4:13 NLT)
Of all the negative things I have experienced in my life, the one I have not really talked about publicly is loneliness. I guess I didn’t talk about it because it scared me the most and possibly had and has the greatest effect on me. I have always felt the need for people. I dread the thought of being stuck with myself. I have had many of those conversations with myself and I tell you it is a frightening thing when I think about it.
When we go through loneliness, how do we fight that and what should we do? I wish I had looked to Paul earlier in life to help make some sense of this. In 2 Timothy 4, we see about Paul’s life while he was in prison and awaiting execution. The lesson is that when we do go through seasons of loneliness, we need to make the most of that time.
Simply put, and easier said than done, we need to make the best of a bad situation. I did it all wrong.
Resist the temptation to do nothing: I FROZE IN FEAR AND DID PRETTY MUCH NOTHING
Take some action: I WAS THE ANTI-ACTION
Think of creative ways to take advantage of the season of being alone: I ONLY MOANED AND WHINED ABOUT WHY ME?
Now get this picture of when Paul is writing this verse. He is in prison awaiting execution at any time. He writes to Timothy to bring his coat he left with Carpus at Troas. He also asks him to bring his books and papers. Paul was lonely. Now I may be wrong, but I don’t remember anywhere in his writings that he talks about throwing a pity party. You want pity party,? I can throw one of those. Paul does not complain or give up. After Jesus, Paul is probably one of the most known and greatest Christians who ever lived it could be argued. God used Paul to win countless people to Christ. And yet, in his final days, Paul is alone.
So, what does Paul do in the worst of times imaginable? He utilizes his time. There are 2 things he said in the verse:
1) BRING MY COAT- Roman prisons were dark, damp, and cold. He did his best to take care of himself. When we get the pities and start feeling sorry for ourselves when it is tough and lonely, what is something most tend to do? LET OURSELVES GO BOTH PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY. We don’t exercise or eat right or rest like we should. Paul is taking care of himself here. Don’t neglect yourself because you are lonely. I DID and it was wrong.
2) BRING MY BOOKS- Paul was a people person. I CAN RELATE. He did not like to be alone. AGAIN, I CAN RELATE. God had not wired him that way and I feel the same about myself. ME- I LASHED OUT AT GOD AND SAID WHY DID YOU WIRE ME THIS WAY JUST TO LEAVE ME ALONE? Paul handled things much better than me. Being in solitary confinement is the opposite of where Paul wanted to be. I WOULD POUT. Paul did the best he could. He wrote letters that today are included in the New Testament.
As Christians, we are never alone. Jesus has promised to always be with each of us. As a Christian—there is the body of Christ! Other believers, whether physically near or not, are with us every day in praying and worshiping God. Together, we are not alone.
MAYBE THE ONLY WAY GOD COULD SLOW HIM DOWN WAS TO PUT HIM IN CONFINEMENT. 2,000 YEARS LATER, WE ARE STILL BENEFITING FROM PAUL’S LONELINESS. TAKE A LESSON FROM PAUL. MAYBE YOU AND OTHERS WILL BENEFIT FROM HOW WE CHOOSE TO GO THROUGH THE LONELIES.
“Some Christians try to go to heaven alone,………Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together.Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.”Charles Spurgeon