8 First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the news about your faithfulness is being spread throughout the whole world. 9 I serve God in my spirit by preaching the good news about God’s Son, and God is my witness that I continually mention you 10 in all my prayers. I’m always asking that somehow, by God’s will, I might succeed in visiting you at last. 11 I really want to see you to pass along some spiritual gift to you so that you can be strengthened. 12 What I mean is that we can mutually encourage each other while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I planned to visit you many times, although I have been prevented from coming until now. I want to harvest some fruit among you, just as I have done among the other Gentiles. 14 I have a responsibility both to Greeks and to those who don’t speak Greek, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 That’s why I’m ready to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. (Romans 1:8-15, CEB)
I get the sense from this passage that Paul really wants to go to Roman. He is writing to them before he makes it there to let them know who he is and that he is hoping to one day be with them so that both Paul and those gathered in Roman can be lifted up and brought closer to each other and our God. I actually think a lot of us now know what Paul was thinking and going through. Wanting to go somewhere he hadn’t been, like on vacation, or back to a Mexican restaurant. This shelter in place and kind of opening is getting to all of us. I know it is different in places where you might be reading this. But here, only a few restaurants are open for dining in and a lot of places have restrictions on the number of people allowed. So we can’t go where we want to or do what we want. We plan to do things and we can’t.
But even in all of this, we can mutually strengthen each other in the faith and pray for each other. We are separated by distances physically, but we can be and are socially and spiritually connected. Do not lose the hope that God has given you and live in that and lift up your brothers and sisters daily.
Always plan, but know even in the disappointments that God is always with us.