A Hope Deferred
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice. Help me to understand Your character today as I read Your Word.
Read Romans 15:23–33
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you been longing for something for a long season?
What an example Paul is to us in this passage. He has been “longing for many years” to see his friends in Rome, but has been prevented from coming to them by his greater desire to preach the Gospel to those who have not heard. And even though that phase of his ministry is complete, the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem are claiming his time.
This is the kind of love Paul was talking about in the passages we looked at earlier—a love that puts its own wants to one side for the sake of the Gospel and the needs of others. It is the very love that Christ showed when he gave up his throne in heaven to dwell among us and ultimately to bear our sin and shame and give his very life for us.
What do you think helps Paul carry on, longing for one thing but joyfully doing another? Perhaps his longing to be like his Savior; maybe his faith in the love and promises of God: “I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ” (29).
What are you hoping for? Take time to focus on God’s will and his bigger plan. Open your hands as a sign of surrender to God’s plan.
Holy God, I am Yours. All I have and all I am are Yours. I trust You to do what’s best for my life. Have Your way in me.
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