1Co 16:5-7 “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.”
As Paul works toward the conclusion of his letter, he seeks to assure the church at Corinth of his plan to come and see them. He did not leave the time of his arrival completely ambiguous. He told them he would come to them when he had passed through Macedonia, which was about 365 miles from Corinth.
Considering that a day’s journey in Biblical times has been estimated to be twenty to twenty-five miles, it would take Paul about sixteen days assuming he traveled that distance every day. He did not intend for them to take his journey lightly or assume an “I may or may not attitude” about his coming. He let them know that they were his destination at that time by telling them “I do pass through Macedonia.” In other words, just as surely as he was passing through Macedonia, he was coming to Corinth.
As is often the case today when the Lord sends His messenger to us, some look forward to his coming with great anticipation. Others may have a dread about it, especially if they have been rebuked previously over their misdeeds or poor attitude. However, we can rest assured of this, when the Lord sends His messenger that messenger is coming. He is coming because he loves his Lord and he loves the church.
Paul intended that they should understand he was not just stopping by for a handshake, a hug, and a cup of coffee. He had no intention of them just being a stop-over (“I will not see you by the way”). There was a purpose behind his desire to see them. It was his intention to spend some time among them; perhaps even stay through the winter. He also assured them there was a purpose for them in his coming.
He had instructed them to be faithful to the gospel of Christ in his letter. He had rebuked them for their lack of care for the weaker brethren among them. They had been assured that, through the power of the resurrection of Christ, they should abound in the work of the Lord. Now by the leadership of the Spirit, he is giving them an opportunity to prove they have heard the message because he expects them to assist him on his journey wherever the Lord leads him when he departs from them.
Finally, he makes recognition of the same principle that James teaches us. In James 4:15 we are taught that we ought to say “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” In this vein, Paul tells the brethren at Corinth that he will stay with them awhile if the Lord permits (or if the Lord will). Regardless of whether we are the bearer of the message or the receiver of the message, everything hinges on the Lord’s will.
May we receive His messages with gladness in our hearts that our Lord cares for us enough to send them!