Confident in the Lord's Goodness
Although Paul was in prison because people did not like his faith in Jesus, he knew he had more work to do. What an act of faith to ask Philemon to prepare his guest room! But it was because Paul believed that God answers prayer, therefore he could be confident of the Lord's goodness to him. He was not presumptuous, demanding that God would have him released, but quietly hopeful and trusting the Lord.
Of course, Paul was also anticipating that he would see Philemon's run-away slave, Onesimus, restored to the household and to Christian fellowship. So Paul's request to stay with Philemon was also a reminder that he needed to enable Onesimus to be reintegrated by the time he was released from prison.
Although we can only live one day at a time, it is good to plan for future ministry and to consolidate previous ministry. Looking ahead is not presumption, if we allow the Lord to have the final say with our diary. James 4:13-15 says, "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." So as we pray in line with God's will, we may be confident that He will answer in the way which He knows is best.
© Dr Paul Adams