The Lord is eventually triumphant in His Church. Paul’s journey to Rome represents that truth. He writes, “And so we came to Rome” (Acts 28:14). How much is packed into that little word “so”! It was something given into his heart by the Lord, something around which all kinds of expectations and imaginations were woven, all of which were entirely disappointed, undone, brought to disintegration and changed; but the purpose of God stood. That which God had put into the heart went through and was found at last to be not of man but of God.
I wonder what Paul felt like as he entered Rome; remembering when long ago the thing came into his heart, and all his visions and expectations and hope, and all his thoughts of going beyond Rome to Spain and now this is how things have worked out! And so it is with us: not as we thought, not as we expected and planned, but we are here! That is the thing that matters; we are here!
We can transfer that to the large issue of the course of the child of God as well as of the Church. How many times have we looked at the storm, looked at situations, looked at our own faults and mistakes, at what the enemy has called our blunders, and have said, ‘Oh, it is hopeless, we shall never get there!’ And yet despite all that has happened, we are still going on, even though we cannot yet say that we have arrived. It will be like that if our hearts are as knit to the Lord and His eternal purpose as was that of this dear man Paul. When we get to heaven, we shall say, ‘And so we came to heaven! Here we are!’ We shall look at one another and say, ‘Well, brother, you did not think you were going to be here, but here you are!’ Believe me, that is God’s sovereign part; and if any responsibility on our part comes in at all, it is that we should be of the spirit of this man who said, “One thing I do” (Phil. 3:13) not, ‘I hope to do’, or, ‘I am going to do when my present phase of life is passed, when my college years are finished’; not ‘tomorrow’, not ‘presently’, not ‘when I am trained’. No, “One thing I do”; I am doing it now. If we are like that, we can count on this sovereignty of God, which may upset our plans and change our expectations; but we shall be there, and heaven will triumph in getting us there.