Standing alone in the midst of life’s challenges can be one of the most undermining emotional challenges. On top of the empty feeling that there are none who are willing to be with you is the constant mental nagging of questions. “What did I do wrong?” “Should I have done things differently?” “Was I right to insist on my perspective?” “How can I draw those others back to me?”
Towards the end of the Apostle Paul’s ministry, he finds himself being deserted by those whom he had trusted and by those whom he had poured his life into. In 2 Tim 4:16 Paul says, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.” It is interesting that as Paul assessed himself as being one who was deserted, his first response was to state that he did not want his being abandoned to be charged against the deserters. While it might have been easy for Paul to justify what is happening to him by blaming character flaws, weaknesses, unbelief or fear within the ones who deserted him. He declares that he did not want this to be charged against them. He did not want to go down the road, or the train of thought whereby he would accuse or blame others for the present situation that he was in. This would not be the typical type of response which people would have.
Most people, because they can’t handle having to admit that they have problems, blame others for the situations that they are in. We first see this when Adam in the garden of Eden blamed both God and Eve for his sinful action, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen 3:12).
It is the next verse that Paul shares what empowered Paul so that he would not blame others but so he would actually want the best for those that had deserted him. “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me … “(vs 17). An awareness that God was with him gave him an ability to resist the tendency to blame others or to charge them for his struggles.
Our awareness of God being with us will enable us to stand when others are not supportive of us and to not blame others for our mistakes. The good news is that we need not be alone for we can all experience the strength of “Emmanuel – God with us”. Take some time to meditate on how our Lord Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. What strength this brings to us!