August 3, 2021 — You don’t get to pick and choose

“One of my neighbors just returned from a stay at the hospital,” Stan commented. “I went over to see him last night.”

“How’s he doing?” I asked.

“He said he’s definitely in the recovering mode,” Stan replied, “but he said his time in the hospital was an ordeal that really encouraged him in his faith walk.”

“An ordeal in the hospital encouraged him?” I questioned.  “How so?”

“Apparently,” Stan replied, “he was in the hospital for a fairly minor surgery, something to do with cleaning out a blocked artery, but there was some complication that required the doctors and nurses to do some rather unpleasant and painful procedures on him.”

“And how did that encourage him?” I asked.

“Romans 8:28,” Stan replied.  “You know that one.”

“I do,” I said. “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

“That’s right,” Stan responded. “And my neighbor admitted that in the middle of one of the unpleasant and painful procedures that he was subjected to, he asked God how this could possibly be good.  He said he thought that it hurt too much to be any good. And that’s when he heard from the Holy Spirit.”

“Heard from the Holy Spirit,” I responded. “In what way?”

“My neighbor said there were two questions and one comment,” Stan replied.  “The first question was, ‘Do you love God.’ The second was, ‘Do you sense you are called by God according to His purpose?’”

“And then what?”

“The comment from the Holy Spirit was that my neighbor, if the answer to both questions was ‘Yes,’ couldn’t pick and choose.”

“Couldn’t pick and choose?” I said. “What’s that mean?”

“You either believe that ‘All things’ means what it says or you don’t.  ‘All things’ does not mean ‘some things’ or ‘a few things’ or ‘whatever things you want’. No, ‘all things’ means ‘all things’ and my neighbor said he chose to claim the promise that what he was going through, as painful and as unpleasant as it was, was for his good.”

“And was it?” I asked.

“He’s home recovering,” Stan said.


Bible verses to consider:

And we know the God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you do cause all things to work together for good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose. I confess that too often I fail to accept that “all things” means “all things,” not just the things that I want to experience. Please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead into an ever-deepening faith built on my love for you and your call to me for your purpose so I truly know and live a life that reflects my unwavering faith that all is in accordance with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Do you believe the promise of Romans 8:28? Why or why not? Have you ever experienced something about which you simply could not see any good happening as a result of it? If so, what was that all about? What about the two conditions of Romans 8:28, loving God and being called according to His purpose — how do you see yourself fitting within those conditions? If you sense there may be some need for growth regarding those two conditions, how is that going to happen?

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