16:5 But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; 6 and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost;9 for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
I must admit I hate time. It's like a relentless ticking noose around my neck. There is never enough of it. I can so relate to Paul's quandry. He loves the people in Corinth. He is passing right by them and it's been a long time since he has seen them. However he is under the limiting factor of time. Because he can't spend any significant amount of time there he elects not to spend any. "For I do not wish to see you now just in passing..."
There in lies my struggle. What's better? To pass by with a quick hello or just pass by? "They" say the greatest complaint about pastors is that we don't visit enough. The factor that limits my visiting is time. I know how human nature works. Real conversation does not happen in a quick visit. To connect with people on a meaningful level demands time and it seems like that's the resource I have the least of.
To solve his problem Paul pushed the visit into the future. He essentially said "I will come later when I have more time. Right now I have a more pressing need to get to Ephesus." The frustrating part about pushing things into the future is that sometimes that future dream of having more time later never comes.
Here is where I take comfort. Jesus understands. He was here. He walked in the limiting dimension of humanity. Time and space weighed on Him too. He couldn't be in two places at once. He couldn't stop time or even slow it down. When He told the disciples He was leaving He told them it was to their benefit. After He left they would put their reliance on the Holy Spirit who is limited neither by space or time. When I can't be somewhere I know His presence will be there even if I can't be. God uses us all to bring comfort and support to each other but we must always remember we have an ever present Comforter who never slumbers or sleeps and is not restricted by the binding constraints of time.