Desires and Devices

“For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you – or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”

Romans 1:11-12 NRSV

The Apostle Paul desires to go to Rome so that he may encourage and be encouraged. A state of mutuality that builds up. Another word for that is love.

And Paul will eventually go to Rome, but it will be in chains under house arrest and eventually, as church tradition believes, executed. I don’t think that is exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote the letter. But it happened. And he did. And they did. Be encouraged and encourage that is.

I often wonder if I would be okay if God answered my prayers in a way that was unexpected or even difficult? What if God gave us the desires of our heart but not the devices? Another way of saying this is God giving us what we want but not how we want it.

God’s will is always good. That is a promise. But God’s will is not promised to be easy. This is why we were called to community.

Burden bearing…joy sharing…stumble stopping…life giving. All closely aligned with true community. All necessary for the days of our journey.

Let us not give up the faithful practice of praying and looking for God to answer. But along with our requests, let’s also give God enough space to answer in ways that we may not have considered.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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