You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus... Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. … Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. (2 Tim 2:1-7)
Paul is about to die a prisoner’s death. He’s pretty sure it won’t be pretty. So he sends a final letter to Timothy – each word filled with last minute instruction and weighted importance. And then he tells the son of his heart to join him in suffering.
Wait, what?! Are you kidding me?! I don’t know about you, but I’d be telling my sons to do everything in their power to learn from my mistakes so they didn’t have to suffer!
And then, after talking a touch about soldiers and races and farming…Paul trusts that the Lord will give Timothy insight into these things if he just reflects. Boy, he better!
But here’s the deal: Paul isn’t heartless, in fact quite the opposite: Paul knows whom he has believed and why his life has purpose:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Tim 2: 8-10)
Paul is doing all of this for the sake of the elect – not the least of which is Timothy.
Paul loves Timothy. He wants the very best for him, like any father would. But he also knows up close and personal that the “very best” might just include suffering. And make no mistake about it: Paul knows about sacrifice. He knows what he’s asking of Timothy, but more than that, Paul knows the reward: the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus … that fact that everything else is just a heaping pile of dung.
… and who else but Jesus to trust with filling in the details? “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
So here I sit a couple thousand years later, wondering… What insight did the Lord give Timothy? What insight might He give me? … … … … …
Hmmm… nope. Got nothing … except maybe this:
Reflect also means to: “shine back; to show an image of; embody or represent (something) in a faithful or appropriate way; bring (credit or discredit) to the relevant parties
Recently there was a lunar eclipse. The moon’s ability to reflect back its source of light was robbed -blocked – by the earth’s shadow.
In other words, if I am going to be able to reflect the Lord, I have to to see the Lord – with an unobstructed view. I have to walk out from under those shadow-casting obstacles that are hell-bent to get in the way:
the shadowy plank in my eye.
the smirk of pride
the clench of impatience
the tight-fisted grasp of all things “Mine!”
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever – no variation, no shadow of turning. The only true source of
“They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. (Ps. 34:5)”
Lord, like Timothy, I can be strong in the grace you’ve given me – no matter where that grace may lead. May the only shadow I hide behind, be the shadow of your wings.
Watering today: Ps 26, 126; prov 26; Jonah 1-4; 2 Timothy 1- 2