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, 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 (Romans 15:23–24).
Paul had brought the Gospel to Asia Minor, and then to Greece. He had done a thorough work. He says that “now… there is no more place for me to work in these regions.”
Since he had received the calling of God to be his apostle to the Gentiles, it had been Paul’s dream to take the Gospel to all the Gentile lands.
God had other plans
Having finished his work in Greece, he now saw his way free to travel to Rome and preach the Gospel there. From Italy, Paul planned to continue west to Spain. But he never made it. God had other plans. As the Lord declared to the prophet Isaiah,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8–9.)
Knowing that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28), the Christian life is a life of submission to his will for us. We may have our own plans and intentions, however we know that God works out his will for us in the most surprising ways, and so we must already be ready to follow him.
Which plans have you had in your life, which God has frustrated? Search your heart. Do you resent it or do you truly submit to his will?