Romans 1:8-15 – Prayer of Thanksgiving
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish —hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
This past summer, my family and I spent a few days in Orlando at the new Diagon Alley section of Universal Florida. When we told our kids that we were taking this trip, we knew that it was going to be a long few months before the day arrived for us to get there. There were many questions from the kids about how much longer it was going to be and “we can’t wait to be there…” And when we got there, it was a wonderful trip. But it was just an amusement park, but what was wonderful was the priceless connection time we had as a family there (and yes seeing this dragon spew flame several times an hour). I hear an even deeper longing in Paul’s words here at the beginning of Romans. He is longing to be there, to meet them, to see what is happening, to experience what he has heard about of God’s work among them. Paul’s longing is to see God at work and to celebrate it. He cannot wait to somehow, someway, get there…But until then its his sharing of this longing and desire to be there.