Here’s the text for today in the NET translation.
15:22 This is the reason I was often hindered from coming to you. 15:23 But now there is nothing more to keep me in these regions, and I have for many years desired to come to you 15:24 when I go to Spain. For I hope to visit you when I pass through and that you will help me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
Today I have several small reflections.
1. Paul’s dream of visiting the Romans was delayed many years because of his commitment to evangelize the unreached territories first. In our day of immediate gratification this willingness to defer dreams for years stands out as commendable.
2. There was nothing more to keep him in these regions. I assume he either presented Christ in every city there or God re-directed him. Either way, he finished his task.
3. Paul shows his humanness and limited understanding by assuming he was destined to end up in Spain. The historical record would indicate he never got there. He got to Rome — but in chains — and died there. His dream of going there — which seems to be of the Lord — was never realized. It seems he died before ever getting there. It strikes me that this situation of dreams from God not happening is common to humanity. Many people die before attaining what they set their hearts on. It’s interesting that Paul doesn’t mention this loss of his Spain dream in 2 Timothy — the last book he wrote from Rome before his death. He says he finished the course. I guess he came to realize that Spain was someone else’s mission field.
4. He looked forward to enjoying their company. That says something about what the church is supposed to be. Not empty rituals or duties or chores, but a living, relating, loving, delighted fellowship of believers.
5. He says he hopes that they will help him on his journey. He’s not ashamed to ask for their partnership and assistance.