(First published November 17, 2010.)
I love stories about people praying and then having answers. It’s exciting.
I mean, think about this story:
Paul writes a letter to some people in Rome. He talks about his travel schedule and his desire to visit them. And he asks them to pray for him.
Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. (Romans 15:31-32)
In the travelogue that is the book of Acts, we find the end of that story.
And so we came to Rome. The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people, Paul thanked God and was encouraged. (Acts 28:14-15)
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Paul asks, God answers, and he is refreshed by the people from Rome. It would never happen that nicely for us, of course, not being as spiritual as Paul, but it’s nice nonetheless.
Of course, there is part of the story that doesn’t show up between the prayer and the answer. Paul does go to Jerusalem. He’s beaten and then arrested. After a plot to kill him, he’s taken to Caesarea. He stays in prison there for a couple years. He appeals to Caesar and is taken as a prison to Rome. On his way there, the ship is wrecked but they safely gets to Malta. He’s bitten by a snake but lives. Another ship takes them.
And so he comes to Rome, in chains, but safe.
Sometimes in the middle, the story feels muddled, but the ship may yet arrive.