Romans 1:1-7: Waiting on the Promise
By Sarah Morris
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The way may look dark and foggy, but we are searching. Looking for something deeper, wondering if there is more to life. Do you think that Paul would ever have thought that he was called to preach the Word of God? He was persecuting Christians, killing them, and all of a sudden he was preaching the love of Jesus—wow, what a turn of events. But God had set him apart to preach the Gospel, even before the Gospel story had ever taken place. Isn’t it amazing how God works? That is what faith is. Think for a second how hard it would have been to persevere and wait. The prophets had spoken of a coming Messiah for hundreds of years, and people believed and persevered, even when they could not see what was ahead. But God had a plan. He had certain people placed in certain places at certain times.
This passage cries out of God’s promises. Nothing that He brings about was or is a mistake. And to me, this brings hope and joy. I have been struggling recently to find where I fit into the puzzle of life. I just graduated from college, and now I am wondering which road to take. But it is reassuring to know that God has a plan, and I have to seek His will. How does that work? Well, it isn’t easy. I would love for God to just take a megaphone and say, “Sarah, you should do this!” and then I would say “Okay, cool!” For some, the answer may be audible. But most of the time, God speaks in other ways. He has given us a guidebook to seeking His will – the Bible, the Word, the Scriptures. Sometimes we toss off this promise like it is nothing, thinking it is all just a book of history or rules or stories. But it is so much more. Through the Bible God speaks. He spoke then, He speaks now and He will speak in the future.
And then there is prayer. How do you expect to know someone if you don’t talk to him or her? How would you expect to know God’s plan for you if you never engage with Him as well? In the quiet depths of the heart to the voices of community, God wants us to be connected to Him. But the trouble is sometimes we got so caught up talking and asking and pleading that we never try and listen to His response. We wonder why Heaven is silent when really it is just us droning out His answers with our own voice.
Finding the promise of God isn’t always easy. It probably won’t be dished up onto a plate, or yelled from above, or stated in a coded message. Sometimes it might, but usually God wants to engage with us, not just hand us an itinerary of life or answers to the question. Jesus never said that following Him would be a well-paved path with no bumps; rather, He would hold our hand as we walked the way. As the passage says, we are called to belong to Jesus, to be loved by Him. And now we can have faith and peace that He who knows all things has a plan for us, a Promise.