"Do not blush or be ashamed the, to testify to and for our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for His sake, but ( with me) take your share of the suffering ( to which the preaching) of the Gospel (may expose you and do it) in the power of God." 2 Tim. 1:8
In studying this week, I am just struck by Paul's statement to Timothy. This letter is probably the last communication he will have with this man who has become like his son. He misses him. He is lonely, and while not afraid, is aware that his physical death is approaching.
Over and over I keep thinking of what it is like to pass on your life's passion and work to someone else, as in essence that is what he does in this letter. And he knows that what he has given his life to is not just another job. It' is God's offer of real LIFE to people.
But this world is volatile. They don't always want life or light.
Sometimes, I realize I get so comfortable being here, or being with people who do want life, that these words don't ring as true and as necessary to my heart as they should. Timothy had to soak this up, even as his heart was overwhelmed with emotion. When one believes in you as Paul did Timothy, it changes your life. When you've lost someone like that, you take every task they commend to you to heart.
"Take your share of the suffering...."
It is a given.
It doesn't take away constant joy, as Paul's life proves. But it's presence, none the less, is expected.
It's uncomfortable to think suffering has a place of measuring in my life, but I believe it should, if I hope to be transformed like Him. It's absence may tell me more than I want to know. It's character may produce more of who I have always longed to be.
So my thoughts of thanksgiving this week make me want to be faithful to the One behind all I am thankful for, no matter what the cost.