Hi guys, so this is the second entry in our study of Romans, and today we're reading from Romans 1:8-17.
Read the passage here...
8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.
10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world,[f] to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News.
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.[g] 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Once again, there is so much that we can learn and glean from this passage, but today I sense the Lord drawing us towards this term "God Willing".
In this passage, Paul expresses the fact that he had a desire. In fact, he had had that desire for a while it seemed. His desire was not bad; to visit the people of God and to encourage one another in the faith (in person) is not a bad desire at all. In fact, it is more noble than a lot of things that we often desire, to be honest. And yet, even though Paul had always prayed about it, he still had not been able to do it for such a long time.
Hands up if you can relate?
Perhaps you've prayed about your athletics season year after year, to improve your performance, but still have not seen the results you'd like? Perhaps you've prayed about a scholarship or sponsorship, but still have not received the offers that you desire? Perhaps, you have a relationship desire such as to find a Christian friend within the sport or maybe you feel ready to settle down and desire to find your future husband/wife, but you still find yourself alone even after all these years?
Unfulfilled desires can honestly be really hard at times, but here are a few things we can learn from Paul and how he responded to his unfulfilled desires:
1 - Don't Stop Praying
Paul didn't stop praying. He didn't pretend that He didn't have a desire, He came before God regularly, and in doing so, he essentially said, "Your will be done". This is similar to what we see Jesus do in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 24:42). Jesus wasn't exactly excited about going to the cross (and He was honest about this with God), yet ultimately, through prayer, He chose the Father's will over His own.
If you've got a deep desire for something, the best thing to do is not to sweep it under the carpet, but to bring it before God. Once you've been honest, choose then to accept His will for your life whatever that may be or whenever that might be.
2 - No Doesn't Mean Never
Again, Paul didn't stop praying. We can infer from this that he believed that his desire was from God, but that it simply hadn't been the right time "until now".
Not only did Paul pray, but He also planned because faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Sure, his plans failed many times, but because He believed it was God's will for him to reach the Gentiles, he continued to exercise his faith believing that one day, he would be able to visit the believers in Rome — but all in God's perfect timing.
3 — God's Got A Greater Plan
Paul had a good desire and a plan. But God has a good desire, and a good plan. The ways and thoughts of the Lord are FAR beyond our own (Isaiah 55:8) and Paul could never have foreseen that the delay in the fulfilment of his desire to visit the Roman church would lead to us having this book as part of the Bible today!
So yes, your desire may be good, God-given or godly; however, could there be a greater purpose at work then you've previously seen? Perhaps what has seemed like a prevention/delay to you, is actually just God's genius good hand at work!
What's one of your deepest desires right now?
Have you expressed your honest desire to the Lord? (If not, do that now).
Do you already know what Abba's desire is for you concerning this thing?
If yes, ask Him to help you accept His will, and then submit to His will now.
If no, ask for His will to be done and to help you submit to whatever (or whenever) it maybe.
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