By Irvin Himmel
Faithful Christians sometimes have heartbreaking experiences. A chain of events may produce a situation in which someone is deeply hurt by people who ought lo be his best friends.
To illustrate, a preacher may give his best for a number of years to strengthening and building up a congregation. He loves that church and he loves the Lord’s work with all his heart. An unprincipled element temporarily gains attention, the worst in the people surfaces, and abruptly the preacher is told to leave. With a heavy heart he seeks a new location where he can continue preaching and teaching.
To further illustrate, an elder may serve a church with remarkable dedication for many years. He gives the best part of his life in unselfish service. Then one day it becomes necessary that he and the other elders remove a preacher who has become ungodly in life or unsound in teaching. But the preacher has charmed a sizeable portion of the flock, and these mesmerized members oust their shepherds in order to retain their unscrupulous preacher. Sadly, that old elder who has so long tried to be a good shepherd turns from the flock that chose to completely reject him in a most unholy and ungrateful manner. With a heart broken and bleeding, he lives out his last years.
Or the case may run somewhat like this: a mother and father bring up a daughter in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, They love her with all the parental affection that they could have. She becomes a Christian and later marries a young man who is a Christian. Her parents are happy when she establishes a home of her own. Years pass and these parents never have any feeling but rejoicing and thanksgiving when they think of their daughter. Then suddenly, for a reason that none can explain, she deserts her husband and runs off with another man. Her parents spend sleepless nights wondering how such a tragedy could come about. She abandoned the principles that were taught in tier youth. She knows and admits she is wrong. Her loving parents keep asking themselves if they somehow failed in her upbringing; they feel empty and forsaken.
There is no describing the emptiness that overtakes us when people whom we love and trust betray our confidence. We must guard against bitterness and complete despair.
Think how Paul must have felt when he was nearing the sunset of life, He was a prisoner at Rome and knew die time of his departure was at hand.
“Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. . .”
“Only Luke is with me.”
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil . . . for he greatly withstood our words.”
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
These statements in 2 Tim. 4 do not paint a very pretty picture. Others who could have given support and encouragement to Paul at the time when he needed it most were not there. Except for the presence of Luke, the apostle was largely forsaken and alone.
Paul was quick to add this thought: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me . . . and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
What a comforting realization! Though all others may forsake me, I can count on my Lord to stand with me! He can give me strength in time of weakness, hope in the face of adversity, comfort in sorrow, and victory in defeat!
He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).
David once wrote, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (Psa. 37:1, 2).
In this world failures, disappointments, sorrows, and hardships are many. We cannot afford to build on a human foundation. To keep faith in the Lord is to have a Friend who never fails. When life’s little day fades and the sun finally sets, when the struggle ends and the battle is past, the righteous will shine in eternal glory Mid wear the crown that awaits all who conquer through Christ.
Truth Magazine XX: 29, pp. 459-460
July 22, 1976