At a coat drive for children, excited kids searched gratefully for their favorite colors and proper sizes. They also gained self-esteem, an organizer said, with new coats boosting their acceptance by peers and school attendance on winter days.
The apostle Paul seemed to need a coat, as well, when he wrote Timothy, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas” (2 Timothy 4:13). Held in a cold Roman prison, Paul needed warmth but also companionship. “No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me,” he lamented, when he faced a Roman judge (v. 16). His words pierce our hearts with the honesty of this great missionary’s pain.
Yet in these final words of Paul’s last recorded letter—his closing thoughts after an astounding ministry—he moves from pity to praise. “But the Lord stood at my side,” he adds (v. 17), and his words rally our hearts. As Paul declared, “[God] gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death” (v. 17
If you’re facing a crisis, lacking even the right clothing for warmth or close friends to help, remember God. He’s faithful to revive, provide, and deliver. Why? For His glory and for our purpose in His kingdom.
The book of 2 Timothy was written from Rome as Paul was awaiting execution. The clear sense of his impending death is seen in 2 Timothy 4:6: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.” His tone is very different in his prison letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon), where he’s under house arrest awaiting trial (see Acts 28:30–31). This difference of tone contributes to the view of many scholars that Paul experienced two imprisonments—the first leading to trial and the second (seen here) leading to execution.