“Pressure is not necessarily an enemy; it’s a tool. If used correctly, it brings to light grace, mercy, and peace as it presses us nearer the heart of God.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Step back in time to AD 67 to the bustling pagan port city of Ephesus, and enter the home of Timothy, who was the pastor of a church that Paul had helped establish. At the door appears a courier who had journeyed for weeks across perilous seas to deliver a letter to Timothy from Paul—the letter preserved in the New Testament as 2 Timothy.
Paul’s relationship with Timothy goes back to Paul’s earliest days as a missionary. Paul and Barnabas visited Timothy’s hometown of Lystra on Paul’s first journey around AD 47. Young Timothy may have become a Christian at that time.
Blessings of Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Paul and Timothy had fought side-by-side in the trenches of ministry for years, suffering and rejoicing together with each setback and success. As a father nearing the end of his life, Paul blessed his spiritual son of whom he was so proud:
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus. I am writing to Timothy, my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. (2 Timothy 1:1–2, emphasis added)
Grace. Mercy. Peace. These three blessings of the promised “life” in Christ sustained Paul in his imprisonment, and he passed them on to Timothy and to us. Chuck Swindoll elaborates their meaning:
When you’re called of God by the will of God, your message isn’t about yourself. It is about grace, God’s gift to the worthless. It is about mercy, God’s ministry to the helpless. It is about peace, God’s love to the restless.
What hardships are you experiencing? Don’t view these pressures as your enemy but as means to press you close to the heart of God where you can draw upon His grace, mercy, and peace—grace to empower you, mercy to console you, and peace to give you rest.