When God changes our plans (Romans 10:5–15)

It's not always what we would choose for ourselves.
August 11, 2017

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For more commentary on this week's readings, see the Reflections on the Lectionary page. For full-text access to all articles, subscribe to the Century.

Life is strange. You can set your course for good and end up in a very bad way. You can set your GPS with careful coordinates and accurate addresses; you can fill up the car, pack your bags and head toward your best intentions; and despite your best preparations, instead of the destination you hoped, planned, and set your course for, you suddenly find that you have arrived in hopelessness, helplessness, or just plain old hell.

But Paul reminds us that while we often can’t see how he’s going to get us there, professing Christ always leads to our salvation—and we who trust him will not be put to shame.

The Bible shows us over and over again that God’s plans aren’t what we would necessarily choose for themselves. But God never lets the faithful be put to shame.

It isn’t Noah’s plan to build an ark, or Moses’s plan to part the Red Sea. It isn’t Joshua’s plan to march around Jericho, and it isn’t the widow’s plan to give Elijah her last. It isn’t Esther’s plan to go before the king.

But they do it, and they are delivered. I tell you, we’d better think twice about how we react when things don’t go the way we think they’re supposed to go.

When we catch up with Paul in this week’s text, he’s explaining to the believers in Rome that the law was given as a blueprint for righteousness, for how we get right with God. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings about a righteousness that comes from faith. It’s not your life, love, labor or anything else that can make you right with God.

Paul is helping us remember that it’s through our faith in Christ that we can conquer fear, no matter where this journey of faith may take us—because “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”