Have you ever felt as though everyone has let you down? Have you ever felt abandoned or forgotten or forsaken?
Paul the apostle felt that way. Imprisoned at Jerusalem, Paul must have been feeling discouraged, because we read in Acts 23:11, “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul.’ ” God reminded him that he was not alone.
The great British preacher C. H. Spurgeon put it this way:
If all else forsook him, Jesus was company enough; if all despised him, Jesus’ smile was patronage enough; if the good cause seemed in danger, in the presence of His Master, victory was sure. The Lord who had stood for him at the cross, now stood by him in prison. . . . It was a dungeon, but the Lord was there; it was dark, but the glory of the Lord lit it up with heaven’s own splendour.
It comes down to this: I would rather be in a jail or in a storm or in a hardship with Jesus than anywhere else without Him. Better yet, I would rather be in a nice, happy place with Jesus—that is good too. But the thing is, He is with us wherever we go. That is what the Lord was saying to Paul: “You are not alone.”
God says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. . . . For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3).
He is with us in the good times, and He is also with us in the bad times. And as someone wisely said, “He can compensate by His loving presence for every earthly loss.”