In the time of difficulties, most of Paul’s friends ran away (see 2 Timothy 4:10).
How on earth did Paul survive? The answer is given in 2 Corinthians 4:1—“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” That simply means the thing that kept Paul going, in spite of all the difficulties, was his constant consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ—for it was He who went before him, the one who was with him and the one who had called him. The very first thing Christ told Paul were the things that he must suffer for His sake (see Acts 9:16), and Paul never forgot that.
What kept John, Christ’s beloved disciple, from despair when he was exiled and all alone in a forgotten land on the island of Patmos? We read in the first chapter of the book of Revelation about John’s “Christ encounter.” In the midst of feeling forsaken and with every reason to be discouraged, we find John looking to Christ—and what a remarkable encounter he had!
We have the choice to deliberately think about the Lord in the moments our hearts begin to become overwhelmed with the circumstances of life. It is a choice we make and one that can eventually become a habit. In every situation, every day, in all things, let us consider Christ, who He is and His promises for us. For “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He never changes. He who was able to keep Paul and John until the end is able to keep you as well. The only one whom we can draw strength from and depend on for all that we need is Jesus.