Having faith does not make life’s problems magically disappear. Who better to testify to this than the apostle Paul? Writing to Timothy, Paul finds himself in prison, reflecting on a life filled with trials. Yet Paul is quick to remember God’s faithfulness in all situations. He does not downplay the trouble he has known but owns the fact that despite his suffering, outbursts, venting, anger, and hurt, God was always faithful.
Paul writes this letter to encourage and strengthen young Timothy, his apprentice in the faith, with a realistic picture of what it is like to follow Jesus in the context of the persecuting Roman Empire. Paul reminds Timothy that the faithful are not exempt from life’s trials; but when we travel in God’s presence and calling, we carry hope that gives us the strength and motivation to take just one more step, to breathe one more breath, to try just once more.
Hope is a gift from God that does not depend on our own strength or abilities. Instead, it is a gift that journeys alongside us when we do our best, reminding us that we are not alone. Read this passage again, but this time read it as if Paul were writing to you. In verse 5, replace the names of the people who were pillars of strength to Timothy with the people who give you strength. Receive this letter of encouragement, knowing that God’s strength is enough to meet us where we are.
Lord, give me reminders of your presence with me so that I can take one more step, breathe one more breath. Amen.
Lamentations opens with a description of the plight of the people of Judah, the southern kingdom. The people have been taken into exile as part of God’s judgment for their idolatry. The psalmist struggles to sing the songs of the Lord. In fact, those who overthrew Jerusalem have forced them to sing for their amusement, so the joy is gone. The psalmist prays that one day God will repay the invaders. In Second Timothy, Paul praises God for Timothy’s faith and for the legacy of faith that comes through his family. He charges him to preach boldly and without hesitation the gospel of Christ. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges the disciples to show greater faith and to understand that we are all servants in God’s kingdom.
Read Lamentations 1:1-6. How do you allow your imperfections and failings to transform you?
Read Psalm 137. How do you remember your spiritual traditions and sacred places? How do you look for God’s work in change?
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14. What spiritual practices help you to “guard the good treasure entrusted to you”?
Read Luke 17:5-10. How might a posture of cyclical servanthood to and with all creation transform or increase your faith?
Respond by posting a prayer.