The Payback

“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on the guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me…” 2 Timothy 4:14-18
At first glance there may not appear to be a prayer within this passage of Scripture, but prayer was as close to Paul as his next breath. As a seasoned prayer warrior, he never allowed prayer to be any farther away than the air he breathed.
Paul survived being wounded by a false friend, not by forgetting about him, but by reminding himself that His Lord was with him and He would repay his enemies. In the case of Alexander, Paul didn’t try to pay him back. He prayed him forward.
“The Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”
Paul’s brief statement invoked the sure fact of The Father’s intervention in the face of injustice and the intimidation of His children.  As surely as there was an injustice done to Paul, He rested in the knowledge that The Father would make a righteous judgment on his behalf.
“Paul prayed that God would vindicate His servant. His heart was full of praise as he realized the abiding Presence of Christ amid the cruel desertion of so-called friends.” Dr. Herbert Lockyer
When pain from the past surged into Paul’s present tense, he breathed a prayer, and rested in The Father’s hands for justice in the future tense. HE DIDN’T TRY TO PASS HIS PROBLEM OFF TO ANOTHER CHURCH. He handed his false friend over to God.
Many pastors fail to warn other churches about the dangerous behavior of people in their congregations or on their staffs. If they get a chance, they pass them on to unsuspecting churches, with a sigh of relief. Paul didn’t. He called them what they were, and by their own names.  When pastors and churches fail to tell the truth, they only perpetuate the problem. They don’t solve it. But I digress.
Prayer takes the bone of an offensive person out of your throat and the rock of a wrong suffered out of your shoe. If you hold onto offenses, without placing them in the hands of Jesus, you will end up choking and limping your way through life. Prayer relieves you from the burden of having a bone to pick or an IOU to payback. Prayerlessness leads to a crippled life and the loss of rest. Paul would have none of either. He prayed.
This minute prayer of the Bible carries a wealth of insight for those seeking to find rest from past pain, present intimidation, and future fears. When any past wrong came to Paul’s mind, the next words out of his mouth were a prayer to God to make it right. He didn’t try to candy coat what had happened. He didn’t try to make up with an unrepentant person. He admitted his pain, and released it to God in prayer, and left the time and the amount of the payback up to Him.
NOTE TO SELF: Immediately whisper a prayer to God, when your chest gets tight, recalling the injury you received from a fellow soldier when he stabbed you in the back, in the heat of battle. Pray for him to receive from the hand of God exactly what he deserves.  Nothing more. Nothing less. Take your hands off the scales of justice. Trust God to payback what you pray forward. Prayer leads to a life of R.E.S.T. , when you Release Every Single Thing. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!