“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
(2 Timothy 2:1)
In the 2nd letter written to Timothy, Paul offers some wonderful words of encouragement to Timothy. He starts by reminding Timothy to remain steadfast and focused on the grace that comes from Jesus. I think these words from Paul can be an encouragement to us all. Here’s why:
Have you ever gone through a difficult time in your life? Yes, that is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer. We have all gone through trials. Ok, so, let me ask you another question. One only you can answer. How do you treat yourself during those times? Have you ever considered offering yourself grace?
I have found that when I am struggling, while I strive to trust God wholeheartedly and have no negative thoughts or feelings as a result, that doesn’t always happen. Ok, it rarely happens. I also find that I tend to feel even worse about myself and my situation when I don’t trust God. So, while that clearly means I need to focus my attention more on Jesus (as Paul tells Timothy to do in the midst of persecution and suffering), it also means that I need grace. Grace towards myself that can only come because of what God has done for me through Christ. And because of the Lord’s grace, I can be strong even during the most difficult of storms.
In addition to grace, I also find that I need to give myself space. If I am having a tough time, I can’t expect to instantly feel better. Just like when you recover from an illness, you don’t typically go to bed really sick and wake up feeling 100%. Instead, it typically takes some time to recover. The fever goes down. The sneezing decreases. The appetite slowly returns. In the same way, while there are times when a huge weight is lifted off our shoulders and we breathe a huge sigh of relief, more often than not, it takes time to recover. From the loss and grief. From the frustration and fear. From the sadness and insecurity.
But. With space and grace, you can get through it. I can get through it. Only because of the grace that is in Christ Jesus that Paul was writing to Timothy about. A lesson for one that can be applied to all. Be strengthened, friend, through this grace.