“I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other gentiles.” -Romans 1:13


Paul in verse 13, tells of his strong desire to visit the church at Rome. Indeed, it could be reasonably said, that it was something very important to Paul, for despite it not coming to pass for some time, he never abandoned his plan, but rather held to the desire throughout his numerous travels.

Paul continues telling the reader that the reason he didn’t visit, was that he was prevented from doing so. At least in this verse Paul doesn’t elaborate, but due to the manifest relationship with Paul had with the Lord, it seems that the Lord, even by allowing hardship, postponed Paul’s visit to the Romans.

1,400 Year Old Fresco Found in Roman Catacomb Purportedly Showing The Apostle Paul

The plans of Man and the plans of the Lord scarcely match up. Even when we feel that we are dong something to further the Lord’s kingdom on earth and have nothing but the best of intentions, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is God’s will. Paul did eventually make it to Rome, suggested by the use of the words, “until now.”

This seems to be a place where God’s will and Paul’s desire are in sync, at least to some degree. However, we must remember that in our relationship with the Lord, this may or may not be the case and though we may wait on Him, our desires may never come to fruition.

The fact is that God can easily prevent, or even force people, to do His will, like in the case of Jonah. This is a right God has because of His sovereignty  and like it or not, our existence denotes that we are already part of His will. So, this being the case, where does responsibility fit in, for some suggest that if God is indeed sovereign then it follows that responsibility is an illusion?

"Jonah Leaving The Whale," by Jan Brueghel The Elder. oil on panel, c. 1600

To state it simply without going into pages of philosophical ramblings, our time and place is predetermined in that the decisions we would make freely would be the necessary means to God’s final purpose. An omniscient awareness of choice and it’s outcome doesn’t necessarily contradict or negate the particular individuals responsibility in decision.

In our struggle of our will with God’s we have a freedom to choose what role we will Play in God’s ultimate purpose, and this freedom represents a clear choice and if there is choice, than it follows their must be responsibility in our actions and decisions.

"Adam and Eve," by Albrecht Durer. copper-plate engraving, c. 1504

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