11 At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 12 After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14 There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. 16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Finally, Paul’s desire to visit the brethren in Rome has been accomplished! Of course, Paul probably didn’t think he would be visiting while under arrest, but the Roman Church is able to finally meet him as he detailed in Romans 1:
[quote]9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.[/quote]
Paul waited almost 10 years to reach Rome! If there is one thing that God teaches us throughout the bible its patience. It is very rare that followers of Christ and the beloved of God don’t have to wait to see the completion of their desires. God requires us to wait for His timing so we may not be hasty with our actions, words, or thoughts. Imagine all Paul had endured during his ministry. He wrote several times in his letters to churches that his true desire was to die and be united with Jesus, but since he was still alive, he knew there was purpose for him.
How much purpose and priority do we find in waiting? How impatient have we become as a society? In results, in satisfaction, in tough times throughout our marriages…we just can’t wait, can we? Yet God continues to make us wait until the right time has come. It is unfortunate that we no longer value patience or waiting. The joke always is, “Patience is a virtue…that I do not possess.” No, we don’t, and what patience we have we are quickly losing. Yet God gives us opportunities to learn patience in order to learn to trust Him more. The times we have to wait: in a line, for paperwork, for a return on an investment, for a positive change in our lives…are all opportunities for us to learn to trust God more.
Paul and the crew had to wait all winter to get to Rome. Remember how hastily they pushed forward even though they knew they most likely wouldn’t make it? Now, when the time was right, as Luke records, they sailed easily to their destination. Think about how much they grew and matured during that time because instead of complaining about having to wait, they made the best of it. I imagine Paul had plenty of time to tell the crew and others about the saving grace of God.
When someone asks, “What are you waiting for?” our response should truthfully be, “I’m waiting on God.”