I sat in shock, listening. Someone I considered to be a friend had been upset with me for months, and she had been talking about me with a couple of mutual friends.
We had served together on a large ministry leadership team at our church for years. Both of us had volunteered countless hours pouring our hearts and our lives into the women of our church. All the while, I assumed we fully supported one another.
But a friend had told her I didn’t agree with her leadership style based on something I’d said in a meeting many months before when I had been asked to share my perspective on something. She hadn’t been at the meeting, and sadly, what I’d said was taken out of context, repackaged, and presented to her in a way that sounded like I had been talking about her. I hadn’t. Instead of coming to me, she’d gone to others to process her hurt.
“Why didn’t someone stand up for me?” I wondered.
In one of his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul describes a time when life and ministry got really hard. He had been slandered, and no one came to his defense or supported him. Instead, they deserted him.
Yet in the midst of feeling hurt by others and abandoned by friends, Paul tells Timothy that God stood with him and gave him the strength to keep standing in the place where God had called him.
As I sat there, feeling like someone had come against me and no one stood up for me, my pain deepened. Feeling all alone, I started planning my exit strategy. I didn’t want anything to do with women or ministry if this was where it got me.
But somehow, in that sacred space of brokenness, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus. He had been misunderstood and misrepresented by people He loved. People hurt Him, betrayed Him, and abandoned Him, yet He stayed.
He stayed where God put Him — in messy ministry, in broken relationships, in hard places. But most of all, Jesus stayed on the cross so we would never have to stand alone.
Whatever you are facing today, whether you feel misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned, or uncertain, there is one thing you can be absolutely sure of: you are NOT alone!
God is with you. He is for you! And He will never, ever leave you.
I pray the words Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy will bring you the comfort and courage they brought to me:
But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength . . .
2 Timothy 4:17a (NIV)
Will you ask God for the courage to stay where He has called you? No matter who is standing with you or against you, God is standing by your side.
Jesus stayed on the cross so we would never have to stand alone. -@ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet