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This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. --- Romans 15.22-24
There’s an emotional tension many of us experience – the feeling of being fulfilled-yet-incomplete.
I’m inspired when I read about Paul’s massive undertaking in proclaiming the gospel among the Gentiles (Rom 15.16-21). To clearly hear the voice of God and to pursue that calling with singular purpose is my heart’s desire. Paul ran his race well and finished his course. By v23 above, Paul had faithfully shared the gospel and established churches in every region he was sent.
There’s a sense of fulfillment in Paul’s tone. He completed the task assigned. Nothing inhibited or deterred him from accomplishing the work.
However, in the same breath, Paul mentioned his desire to finally visit the Romans and to expand his evangelistic church-planting efforts into Spain. He seemed to be simultaneously fulfilled-yet-incomplete.
I wonder if this is the tension that both encourages us in our faith while challenging us to keep growing. We feel a sense of satisfaction while discovering there’s more to pursue.
I feel it in a variety of areas – I’m fulfilled-yet-incomplete as a husband. I’m fulfilled-yet-incomplete as a dad. I’m fulfilled-yet-incomplete as a pastor. And, ultimately, I’m fulfilled-yet-incomplete as a Christ-follower.
My prayer is that we embrace the tension in the midst of our daily call. May we be encouraged and challenged by this feeling of being fulfilled-yet-incomplete.