Tuesday, 4 February 2014
…that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Romans 15:32
Taking the entire thought of verses 30-32 together we find the necessary context for this verse –
“Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.”
The “prayers to God” for Paul were requested in the immediate sense that he would be “delivered from those in Judea” and also that his service to the saints in Jerusalem might be acceptable. If those two things occurred, he was certain that in the long term he would be free to go to Rome and meet with the saints there “with joy by the will of God.”
These things in fact happened. He was delivered from those in Judea. The account in Acts is an amazing read. His life was threatened several times, almost coming to bodily harm. There was a plot to have him assassinated. He was imprisoned and spoke before rulers and even a king. But he was delivered, albeit in chains as a prisoner, from those in Judea. In those chains, he was taken to Rome to face trial before Caesar. Certainly none of this was expected, but “the will of God” was realized.
The book of Acts ends with the note that, “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30, 31
Though bound under house arrest, he was “refreshed together” with those in Rome. The anticipated and prayed-for meeting did come about and God’s will was realized.
Life application: He is there… God is there even when it seems He is far distant. Because God is Spirit, we don’t see Him and we often wonder about the events which happen around us. But if we truly live in the Spirit, remain obedient through the trials, and keep our thoughts and eyes fixed on Jesus, we can always have the certainty that everything is as it should be.
Heavenly Father, Your word says that no man has seen You or can see You. But I know my faith isn’t tied up in a fable. You truly are a very present help in times of trouble. When things are looking bad, I only need to think of what You did for me at Calvary. Jesus prevailed over that trial and so whatever I face now will be defeated and forgotten. The light affliction of the moment is working a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Hallelujah and Amen!