“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #197
“Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit” (1 Cor. 16:5–7).
Paul’s tentative plan was to pass through Macedonia, which was northern Greece. After that he planned to go down to Achaia, where Corinth was, and spend a bit more time there. He did not want to pass through Corinth briefly, such that he merely saw them “by the way,” but rather wanted to stay with them for a while. If the Lord permitted it, he hoped to spend the winter there with them. It is important to note that even the travel plans of an apostle are surrendered to the providential designs of God. He will do this if the Lord wills it.
“But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:8–9).
After that stay in Corinth, he planned stay in Ephesus, which was eastward across the Aegean Sea. He was going to stay there until Pentecost. And then, in passing, Paul says something quite striking about why he wanted to be in Ephesus. He wanted to labor in Ephesus because a great and effectual door had been opened to him there. But at the same time he adds, “there are many adversaries.” It is important to note that for Paul the presence of many adversaries does not make ineffectual work more likely. He reasons the other way. He has effectual opportunities, and his spiritual adversaries know it. They know that he will accomplish much, so they deploy great resources in an attempt to stop him. Paul’s reasoning here is quite the opposite of those who reason from the existence of the obstacle to likelihood of great success. Paul reasons from the likelihood of great success to the likelihood of much opposition.