Cover Feature

Get Here Before Winter

In prison and desperately lonely, Paul pleaded with his friends to be there for him. Will you be there for yours?

2 Timothy 4:9-22 records the last words the Apostle Paul is known to have written. These verses are contained in a letter to Timothy. At the time Paul wrote this book, he was imprisoned in a dungeon in Rome—chained to a wall like a common criminal. He wrote the book for several reasons. He was concerned about the churches that were being persecuted under Nero, and he had some specific things he wanted to say to the Ephesian church.

But Paul had another, more personal, reason to write this letter to Timothy. 

He was lonely. 

He wrote some sad and tender words in verses 9-11 and again in verse 21. In 9-11, he wrote, “Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.”

I can just picture it—Luke, the beloved physician, trying to tend to Paul’s needs to the best of his limited ability. My father was a physician, and I have always pictured Luke like my dad—remaining steadfast, staying nearby, and using his brilliant mind to cure the aging and ailing Paul as best as he could. But Luke did not have the medicines or tools my father had during his lifetime. Still, Luke stayed nearby, doing what he could. 

Then in verse 21, we read words that are some of the most poignant to me in the whole Bible. Paul wrote—pleaded actually—"Do your best to get here before winter.” Paul then asked Timothy to bring a coat and books. His needs were simple: something to keep him warm, his treasured books and Timothy to keep him company. 

There have been many like Paul through the years and still today. If we but look around us, we will see the lonely, the ill and the imprisoned. They don’t ask for much—just the basics and, most of all, our companionship. May God open our eyes to see those for whom we can be a Luke or a Timothy. 

Harriet E. Michael resides in Louisville, KY

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