Have you ever been disappointed by someone? I mean, really disappointed? Where someone did something that left you hurt, confused and wondering who you could trust anymore? I had a really good childhood friend from about the time I was 5 until I was around 13. We went to the same church/school and our families were very close. When we were around 13 or so he started to get involved in trouble and around the same time his family left the church so our friendship came to a pretty abrupt halt. About 3 or 4 years later, our family came home from the Sunday morning service to find out that someone had broken into our home while we were gone and stolen quite a few things, most notably our hunting rifles which were kept in a wood/glassrifle safe. At first we assumed we were the victim of a random break-in but in the end we came to find out my old friend had orchestrated the theft, knowing we would be at church on a Sunday morning and knowing about our stash of firearms. Ouch, what a friend!
On a similar note, we read today about someone who disappointed Paul. In 2 Timothy Paul is nearing the end of his ministry and life and is giving Timothy some final thoughts and charges before he passes off the scene. He references that the time of his “departure is at hand” in 4:6. Reading down to verses 8-11 we see Paul saying, “Do thy diligence to come shortly to me, for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me…..”
Can we read between the lines here? The great apostle Paul is nearing the end of his world-changing ministry and I think it is very clear that he is very likely experiencing both disappointment and loneliness. Demas had been of Paul’s closes associates, having been mentioned in Philemon and Colossians. And now, at the end of Paul’s life at a time when he is in prison, Demas left him, having “loved this present world”. What a disappointment for Paul! He was very much in need of the encouragement that Timothy would bring, essentially begging him to come to him in verse 9.
But through it all, we see what sustained Paul through all his tribulations and problems. In verse 17 he wrote, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.” While people came and went, sometimes bringing joy and others nothing but grief, Paul was able to rest in his strong relationship with the Lord and find the strength that he needed to move on. After all, He is the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”