Standing By Our Sides


“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength . . . ” 2 Timothy 4:17a

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to need someone by his side. He suffered for the sake of the gospel — for the sake of Christ — unlike anything we’ve ever known.

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, he lists some of the trials he experienced. He spent much time in prison and also faced beatings and floggings and was even stoned. He faced danger from shipwrecks and bandits, danger from the Jews as well as the Gentiles, and also endured hunger and thirst. On top of all this, he carried a burden of concern for all the churches. Yes, I’d say Paul needed support.

Sometimes Paul received the needed support from friends and co-laborers, but sometimes he didn’t. When he wrote the above words to Timothy (in bold print), it was late in his ministry, and he was once again in prison. He told Timothy, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.” (2 Timothy 4:16a)

Thank goodness that’s not the end of the story. Thank goodness for verse 17 — for the love and faithfulness of our Lord: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength . . .”

Even though Paul had been deserted by those around him, the Lord stood by his side. And that was all he needed. In the last half of verse 17, he goes on to tell Timothy that he was delivered from the lion’s mouth and that he continued to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles. The Lord’s support was enough for Paul.

And isn’t the Lord’s support enough for us as well? Whatever we’re going through, whether anything from desertion to deprivation to depression, our God is enough. He will stand by us and give us strength. He will enable us to go on.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

*Anyone have a testimony of how the Lord has stood by you? We’d all love to hear about it!

*Flickr photo by Gruenewiese86, Creative Commons License


  1. I remember one particular dark night in my last year when the pain was so tremendous that I just wanted out. Confusion was my portion, and I could barely catch my next breath. I grabbed my clutching cross, put it on top of my stomach and held it there through the night.

    That was one of many “holding” nights with the Lord. Cancer takes one to places where only God and patient can go to together. I’m so grateful that he’s been with me throughout this journey, none more so than on those long nights of pain and confusion.

    I read Paul’s story through fresh lenses, and while I’ve not been in chains for the Gospel, I have been in chains as it pertains to the dying of my flesh. How I love the witness of the ancients. Their stories strengthen my resolve and keep me pressing on.


  2. Elaine, thanks so much for sharing. I’m sure without the Lord standing by your side over the past year, you would have despaired and given up. And you’re right — there is more than one way to be in chains. So thankful the Lord is faithful!

  3. Thanks so much for that verse! God uses you in awesome encouraging ways Cheryl! I have written that one in my card file and will cling to it for the next few months as I walk through the challenge before me.

  4. Thank you so much, Nanette! What a blessing to hear. May God be your ever-present strength!

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