Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.2 Timothy 1:4
I do not know when Timothy wept with Paul. Many suggest, and I think this has merit, that this probably occurred when Paul was suddenly rearrested, torn from Timothy's company, and dragged off to his final imprisonment in Rome. Where this happened we are not sure. Personally, I think it probably happened in the city of Troas. Paul did not even have time to go back and get his belongings. Suddenly, in the midst of the terrible outbreak of persecution against Christians, a band of Roman soldiers grabbed him and, without any explanation dragged him away as a prisoner. Looking back, Paul could see Timothy's anguished face and noted the tears running down the cheeks of this young man as he watched his dearly beloved father in the faith dragged off to jail. Paul says,
I can't forget that. Every time I think of you, Timothy, I see the tears running down your face, and it makes me pray for you.
Many years ago I taught a Sunday school class of high school boys in Chicago. I was twenty-one then, and those boys, who were in their early teens, were not much younger than I. Among them were two boys whom I was particularly close to. I had spent a lot of time with them. We had studied the Word together and prayed together; we had done some fun things together. They were dear to me, and I to them. But then the time came when I had to leave Chicago and go back to live in Denver. That was one of those moments when you know you probably will not see your friends again. My friends came with me to the train station, and, as we said goodbye on the platform, I remember so well the tears running down their faces. For many years, whenever I thought of that event, I was moved to pray for those two boys because I remembered their tears of love when we said goodbye.
This is what the apostle is writing about here. Is there someone you are thinking about, a loving someone you had to leave whose tears you remember? Are you reminded, as Paul was reminded of Timothy, to pray for that someone? Like Paul, remember that person constantly in your prayers when you think of his or her tears of love.
Thank You, Lord, for the deep friendships You give me. I pray for those who have invested in me, that You might encourage them today.
Gifts of deep and caring friendships create cherished memories. As we think of our dear friends, are we faithfully engaging in prayer on their behalf?