17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.” f
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. 
What struck me in today’s passage is Paul’s plan to visit the church in Rome. He is quite clear that he intends to go there as a stopover on his way to Spain. He hadn’t made Rome a high priority because the Gospel had already reached Rome, and Paul believed his calling was to take the Gospel to places it had not yet been heard.
That was Paul’s plan. I’m sure he sincerely meant it. But God had another plan. It involved getting Paul to Rome as well, but in a way that Paul could not have foreseen at this point. Paul’s presence in Rome was apparently a high priority to God. He even spoke to Paul and assured him that he would testify in Rome (Acts 23:11). But it wouldn’t be part of a new missionary journey planned by Paul. It would be as a prisoner on his way to Rome to appear before Caesar on appeal, after spending a couple of years in prison. Along the way Paul would be shipwrecked but would also have the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to people and in places he hadn’t anticipated, including Malta.
You have probably heard the expression “we make plans and God laughs.” It’s not that God is mischievous and likes to thwart our wishes. But it is the truth that God, in His infinite wisdom and unlimited love, has plans that we can’t see, but which fulfill His purposes. And so He leads us in new directions, sometimes taking us to places we hadn’t anticipated. But through it all, He is with us, working all things for our good and for His glory.
Lord Jesus, work in me a greater trust in you, and even when my plans seem thwarted, I can rest in the comfort on knowing that You still hold all things in Your hands, and that You will work all things for my good and Your glory.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?