For the last few days I’ve been reading Paul’s second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy). It is said to be Paul’s last letter, which was done from his second imprisonment in Rome. He’d previously been transported to Rome, and imprisoned, but released only to be captured and imprisoned again. Eventually Paul was executed.
Like so much of Paul’s writing, there’s a whole meal in a few words. For instance, in the first sentence of the second letter to Timothy, Paul refers to himself as “an apostle by the will of God,” upon which Matthew Henry comments that Paul is such “merely by the good pleasure of God, and by his [G-d’s] grace, which he [Paul] professes himself unworthy of. According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, or according to the gospel. The gospel is the promise of life in Christ Jesus; life is the end, and Christ the way, Joh_14:6. The life is put into the promise, and both are sure in Christ Jesus the faithful witness; for all the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea, and all amen, 2Co_1:20. He calls Timothy his beloved son. Paul felt the warmest affection for him both because he had been an instrument of his conversion and because as a son with his father he had served with him in the gospel. Observe, 1. Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God; as he did not receive the gospel of man, nor was taught it, but had it by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal_1:12), so his commission to be an apostle was not by the will of man, but of God: in the former epistle he says it was by the commandment of God our Saviour, and here by the will of God. God called him to be an apostle.”
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
2 Timothy 1:1-6
When I came to “that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers. . .,” I gave pause. And I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it. I’ve been thinking about my own remembrance of people who’ve crossed paths with me. For some, it was truly a crossing of paths, while others have been in and out of contact for quite some time. Sometimes my remembrance of some people isn’t a joyful one. Not every person with whom I’ve had contact has been kind to me, or a friend to me. For those people I’ve had to work to not only get over my own disdain, stop complaining about them, but to begin to remember them to G-d in a more positive manner, for their own good, and G-d’s mercy and grace upon them.
There have been people, too, that I’ve hurt. To some I’ve apologized. But not all, I’m sure. I work hard to get over the my own guilt at my remembrance of them. Some times I think about what might have been, or what could have been, if some such thing had not occurred between us as friends. This, too, is futile thought. For perhaps the path a person takes in response to a hurt following my acquaintance is truly G-d’s will for that person. And in parting we each must take responsibility for the way in which we walk. With recognition of fault, of error, with understanding G-d’s forgiveness, can enable me grow and not repeat mistakes, sins.
Paul said, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers. . .” There have been times in the past that a particular person has entered my thoughts in a strangely burdened way. I’ve known, too, that these people have entered my head through G-d’s will. It happened this way several years ago while I was driving truck. I had not seen nor heard of this person for many years, though had thought joyfully of the times we’d shared together, having been more than friends. For several days, I couldn’t get the person out of my mind. I just had to pray! I didn’t know what to pray. The Spirit of G-d did provide words and prayers. And I remember reaching out in my mind’s eye to the Heaven’s. I remember feeling as if angels were being dispatched to this friend. I never found out what it was about. I did learn that she had been involved in medical missions in the Philippines, in an area particularly hostel to the Gospel of Y’shuaJesus.
There are also times, especially the past few years as I’ve grown older [or grown old, as my kids say] that I remember events and people and just think about them. I believe this, too, is in G-d’s presence. Thinking isn’t what I’d have called prayer a few years ago. A sight, or sound, or smell, reminds me of someone. And I feel myself in G-d’s presence while I’m reminiscing about events that we’d shared in the past–like I’m talking with the Lord saying “Remember when. . .” Occasionally I do actually say it that way! It’s in those times, too, that I feel the joy of those that I’ve known, and convey my gratitude to the Lord for their acquaintance.
Thank You, Lord, for remembrance of all those I’ve met while on this journey with You. Thank You for those that read what has been given to me to write. Have mercy and extend grace to Your people. AMEN.