by Rick Warren
“Be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.” (2 Timothy 4:13 NLT)
What do you do when you go through a season of loneliness? The answer is illustrated in the life of Paul in 2 Timothy 4, when he was in prison and awaiting his execution.
When you go through a season of loneliness, you need to utilize your time.
That means make the best of a bad situation. Resist the temptation to do nothing. Take some action — any kind of action. Try to think of creative ways to take advantage of the seasons in which you are alone.
Paul wrote to Timothy from prison and told him, “Be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (2 Timothy 4:13 NLT).
In a season of loneliness, you need to be comfortable and productive. Even though he was lonely, Paul didn’t throw a pity party. He didn’t complain or give up. This is Paul, the greatest Christian who ever lived next to Jesus himself, who won thousands of people to Christ, and who is completely alone in his final days. What does he do? He makes the best of the situation. He utilizes his time. He says two things:
- “Bring my coat.” Those Roman prisons were damp, dark, and cold. He did the best he could to take care of himself. It is true of human nature that when we are lonely and depressed, we don’t take very good care of ourselves — physically or any other way. We don’t exercise. We don’t rest well. We don’t eat right. Paul did the best he could to take care of himself. Some of you need to hear this today, because you’re not taking very good care of yourself because you’re lonely.
- “Bring my books.” Paul was a people person. He didn’t like to be alone; it wasn’t the way God wired him. Being in solitary confinement in a Roman prison was the antithesis of where he wanted to be. Yet he did the best he could. He wrote letters that today are compiled in a book we call the New Testament. The only way God could slow him down was to put him in solitary confinement. Two thousand years later, we are still benefiting from Paul’s loneliness. Is anybody going to benefit from your loneliness?