Monday, June 3, 2013
"Lack of Opportunity? Opportunity!"
During his missionary journeys, the Apostle Paul possessed a deep desire to visit Rome, a desire he couldn't fulfill because of other God-ordained responsibilities.
"I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, that ye may be established" (Romans 1:11).
"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:but as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you" (Romans 15:20-22).
Paul eventually reached Rome on several occasions, not voluntarily, but by way of imprisonment for preaching the Gospel. Moreover, he died there at the hand of Nero. In earlier days, however, the Apostle could not visit Rome, and thus penned the most important document ever written, his epistle to the Romans. Paul's lack of opportunity led to finding another way to impart unto the Romans - and to the church throughout history - "some spiritual gift, that ye may be established." What an understatement! Indeed, Paul's epistle to the Romans serves as the very heart of Scripture, revealing in sublime and systematic terms the eternal purpose of God as revealed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As was said of its Empire in days of old, "All roads lead to Rome," so can it be said of the Bible, "All roads lead to Romans, as well as from Romans." Gain a working knowledge of this portion of God's precious Word, and the Scriptures will become a far more open and understood book in their entirety.
Again, had Paul been able to visit Rome as he desired, we might not have the epistle that resulted because he could not be with the Romans face to face. A great truth shines forth in this historical circumstance, namely, that lack of opportunity for one thing often provides the possibility for some greater thing to be accomplished or received. We all have good things we'd love to be able to do, things that surely would honor our Lord and serve as a blessing to others. We don't, however, possess the time, the means, or the possibility of fulfilling our noble aspirations. Rather than mourn or question, we do far better to consider that God offers to us the possibility of penning our own personal epistle of Romans, as it were. That is, He may lead and enable us to accomplish some greater and more far-reaching work for His glory by the opportunity that exists in our lack of opportunity. Paul likely didn't know that his letter to Rome would become the very heartbeat of Scripture. He did that which was at hand, rather than pine away for that which existed too far in the distance to be seen or attained. We have the epistle to the Romans as the blessed, holy, and glorious result.
Human limitation provides a wonderful venue for Divine liberty. Yes, when every condition, circumstance, and situation declares that nothing of worth can be accomplished, great and glorious things that happen nevertheless can only be explained by the presence, power, and working of God. Long ago, an unfulfilled desire in God's most vital apostle led to the marvelous gift of God's most vital epistle. Let us expect such working in our lives, wherein seeming lack of opportunity provides that far greater opportunity we must see with the eyes of faith and expectation. Who can say what our Lord may do when we embrace such hope, based on embracing confidence in the One who brings forth His greatest somethings from seeming voids of nothingness...
"God... calleth those things which be not as though they were."