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Friday, October 25, 2019

Not Wasting Seasons and Times of Loneliness

In review of 2 Timothy 4:13, I read “When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (NLT).

Just before Paul made his request, he told of how others with him either left on their own will or he sent them out. He was now by himself. Because he was a prisoner in a damp and chilly dungeon, Paul asked Timothy to bring him his coat. Even more than the coat, Paul wanted his papers. These may have included parts of the Old Testament, writings about Jesus, copies of his own letters, or other important documents.

This verse gives me some clues as to what to do when I go through seasons of loneliness. When this happens, I need to make the most of my time. This means making the best of a bad situation. I need to resist the temptation to do nothing. Rather, I should take some action, any kind of action and try to think of creative ways to take advantage of the seasons in which I’m alone.

Paul wrote to Timothy from prison and asked him to bring him his coat and his papers (study materials). When I experience seasons of loneliness, I need to be comfortable and productive. Even though he was lonely, Paul didn’t throw a pity party. He didn’t complain or give up. This is Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived after Jesus himself, who won countless people to Christ, and who is completely alone in his final days. What does he do? He makes the best of the situation. He utilizes his time. He says two things:

Bring my coat.” Those Roman prisons were damp, dark, and cold. He did the best he could to take care of himself. It is true of human nature that when we are lonely and depressed, we don’t take very good care of ourselves, physically or any other way. We don’t exercise. We don’t rest well. We don’t eat right. Paul did the best he could to take care of himself. 

Bring my books.” Paul was a people person. He didn’t like to be alone; it wasn’t the way God wired him. Being in solitary confinement in a Roman prison was the opposite of where he wanted to be. Yet he did the best he could. He wrote letters that today are included in the New Testament. Maybe the only way God could slow him down was to put him in solitary confinement. And some 2,000 years later, we get to benefit from Paul’s loneliness.

In summary when lonely and in a bad situation, Paul did what he could to take care of himself and tried to be productive via study and writing. (He asked Timothy to bring his coat, books and papers.) When lonely, I too need to make the most of my time or a bad situation. I need to resist the temptation to do nothing or not take care of myself. Instead, work towards being comfortable and productive, making the most of the time. 

When I find myself lonely, instead of being tempted to do nothing, I should reflect and evaluate where I’m at and where I want to go. I should also use these times to perhaps take a walk and get some exercise. Like Paul perhaps something that comes out of these times may be of a benefit to someone else.

Father thank you for using a simple statement such as this to teach and instruct me. Help me to use my alone time to take care of myself and to be productive. I pray this morning Father for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my thoughts, my interactions with others. Help me to be of service and assistance to others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus Name, Amen.