About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Unanswered Prayer   


Romans 15:30 to 32 in the Christian Standard Bible reads:


"Now I [Paul] appeal to you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in prayers to God on my behalf.  Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that my ministry to Jerusalem  may be acceptable to the saints, and that, by Godís will, I may come to you with joy and be refreshed together with you."


Paul suffered much because of his association with Jesus.  As he penned his letter to the Christians at Rome , he was on his way to Jerusalem to deliver money to the poor saints in that city.  He knew that trouble was waiting for him when he arrived, so he asked those reading his letter to pray that he would be rescued from the unbelievers.  Paul wanted to be rescued from the unbelievers so he could have a joyous visit with the Christians in Rome and then head to Spain to preach Jesus.   


If you read the Book of Acts you will see that the trouble Paul expected in Jerusalem was realized.  He was falsely arrested and relocated to Caesarea where he was held in prison for two years.  He did end up in Rome , not as a free man, but as a prisoner of the state.  Did God answer all of the prayers for Paul in a way that people would have anticipated?    


Knowing Paul in the limited way we do, and, knowing God's mission for his life, I'm sure he was frustrated at times.  He was called by Jesus to cross the known world and preach the gospel, and here he was, stuck in prison for two long years. 


I don't think the prayers to rescue Paul from the unbelievers so he could have a joyous visit with the Roman Christians were answered as anticipated.  However you think about this, Paul took what was handed him.  He served Jesus to the best of his ability in whatever situation he found himself.  In the process, he trusted his path of life with Jesus, no matter where that path took him, and it did take him to his execution.  One thing we know for sure.  God called Paul to preach Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles and their leaders, and in the process, he would suffer (Acts 9:15 - 16).  


We offer many prayers to our Lord.  If we are honest, many of these prayers are not answered in the way we hoped or anticipated.  We're not yet living in the recreated life we read about in Revelation 21.  Until that day comes, we exist in this sin-inflicted world.  As Don Henley, of the Eagles rock band sang on his Cass County album, "It's just the cost of living and everyone pays."  As Don Henley didn't sing on his Cass County album, "we trust our lives with Jesus as we pay the cost of living in this sin-inflicted world."   We trust our lives with Jesus, and like Paul, we perform our ministry calling in any situation we find ourselves.   If Jesus doesn't answer our prayers as we anticipate, we trust our lives with Him anyway.    



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