September 12 I Thursday
2 Corinthians 5
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” —Proverbs 16:9
Someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him Your plans.” We find this to be the very case with Paul at the end of his third missionary journey. In his letter to the Romans, Paul revealed his plans of going to Spain, as he journeys to Jerusalem, with his hopes of stopping by Rome along the way to visit them. Spain was completely unevangelized and Paul’s plan was to bring the gospel there. Yet, what Paul did not foresee was when he got to Jerusalem, he would get into trouble, be arrested and put in prison for a few days. Some Jews plotted to not eat until they had killed him. Hence Paul, for His own safety, was taken down to Caesarea and brought before the Roman Governor, a man named Felix.
Felix was hoping to receive a bribe from Paul but Paul did not pay him any bribe during his time in Caesarea. At the end of two years, Felix was recalled to Rome, and a man named Festus replaced his position. Festus wanted to clear up the backlog of cases and had Paul brought before him. Paul made a request to appeal to Caesar, which is the highest court in Roman law. Festus granted Paul’s demand and put him on a boat for Rome. The boat sank several times along the way, including off the coast of Malta, where Paul spent all winter shipwrecked. Eventually, Paul got to Rome but Caesar was not interested in him and the Book of Acts finishes with Paul spending two years under house arrest as well as some time in prison as he waited for his trial.
All this was about five years, where Paul’s plan had gone completely wrong. No longer was he fulfilling the ministry he was hoping to do and he most certainly did not make it to Spain. Yet, he wrote to the church of Philippi saying, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ” (Philippians 1:12-13).
It was God’s prerogative to deviate from Paul’s plans to go to Spain by having him end up in prison for the sake of Caesar’s household, who came to faith because of Paul’s time there. We may have our own plans but they are subject to veto by God because He has His plan too. Like Paul, may we recognize God’s control over our lives and trust in His prerogative over our lives.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your prerogative over my life. Help me to surrender my plans into Your hands and trust in Your goodness every step of the way. Praise You!