At church last Sunday, the pastor preached about loneliness. The pastor’s text was II Timothy 4:9-17. The text, in the KJV, states:
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. 13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: 15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. 16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
The pastor was saying that Paul was lonely at this point in his life. Some of Paul’s friends had forsaken him, and Paul had been wronged. Paul was also in jail. In those days, the pastor said, a jail was a dungeon, and Paul was by himself there. There was no air-conditioning during the summer or heat during the winter. That was why Paul asked Timothy to bring his cloak. How did Paul seek to resolve his loneliness? The pastor observed that Paul asked Timothy to visit. Paul chose to be vulnerable before someone else and to admit his loneliness.
I recently wrote a guest post about fear, and the text that was assigned to me was II Timothy 1:7. My post presented Paul as someone who was trying to encourage Timothy. Although Paul acknowledged that what Timothy feared would take place, Paul exhorted Timothy to trust in God. I said that we should do that, whatever happens to us, including loneliness.
But the pastor was presenting another aspect to the story: Paul’s vulnerability and desire for companionship.