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Romans 15:32: So That By God's Will I May Come To You With Joy


Romans 15:32

So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. (ESV)

The Apostle Paul was looking forward to coming to Rome to be refreshed in their company. He had joy in his heart as he pondered the thought of being with God's people. As we know Paul made it to Rome. He did not go for refreshment. He went in chains. So what do we do with this phrase in the beginning of verse 32, "By God's will." Was it God's will that Paul go to Rome as a prisoner?

Many people have a view of God that if something good or desirable happens it is of God. If the circumstances are unpleasant they are clearly the devil's doing. They argue that God could not possibly be the author of things that are harmful. After all, he loves his children. He would only want what is best for them. He would never want us to encounter struggle.

I would argue that Scripture teaches us that it was God's will for the Apostle Paul to go to Rome. It was also God's will that Paul arrive in chains. No, God is not the author of evil. But, a proper understanding of God includes an understanding that he is sovereign. Nothing happens in this world that is outside of his care and direction. His permissive will allows struggles in our life that are for our good!

In this same letter to the church at Rome the Apostle Paul wrote these words, " We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Romans 5:3-4). Hope is a good thing. But notice that it is through suffering that it is attained. God, in his sovereign, loving, will allows unpleasant circumstances in our lives for our good.

Are you struggling to trust God because your circumstances have been difficult? Be reminded that God is in the process of building hope in your life. Give him praise as you go through this process. He is sovereign. He is good.