“And so we came to Rome. The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.” (Acts 28:14-16 NIV84)
I have been overwhelmed lately as to how personal and intimate our God is with us. The Bible provides us example after example of God taking the initiative to reach out to those in need. Jesus waited at a well in order to talk to a Samaritan woman who needed redemption. Jesus found Zaccheus and introduced him to the saving message of the Gospel. Jesus truly is the Good Shepherd who willingly leaves the 99 sheep to find the one that is lost. Why is God so personal and intimate? Because He loves us and cares about us! No, seriously! The God of the universe is moved and is willing to move whatever necessary to touch our lives. He desires that we not only have faith in Him, but through that faith, He desires that we have hope and are comforted and encouraged.
For quite some time, Paul had known that this journey to Rome would bring an end to his earthly life. Months prior to these verses, a prophet took off his belt and tied it around Paul’s wrist to show that he would soon be bound and taken to Rome. Paul had faithfully taken the journey. He had been treated like a prisoner, shipwrecked and bitten by a poisonous snake, and now he finally made it to Rome. And what did he find when he got there? A welcoming committee! All over the area God moved believers who had heard that Paul was coming to Rome to come to meet him there. Fellow Christians traveled from long distances to be in Rome when Paul arrived. Why? So Paul might be comforted and encouraged. God moved these believers to be there for His servant Paul. Paul recognized their warm welcome as coming from God, so he thanked and praised Him for this act of compassion.
The point is that God truly cares. He isn’t just an impersonal deity who is cold and pushing forward His master plan. He is a God of compassion and grace who cares as much about the journey His people take as He does for the outcome of the journey. May you and I always be comforted by the fact that God truly cares for us!