To Grow in "all things"

Recently I had a conversation with a friend and she quoted the verse to me "all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called in according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

How many times have I heard that verse? Read it? Or even said it?

I believe the verse with my whole heart and know with absolute certainty that it's true.

But, sometimes, if I'm really honest with myself, it can cause a moment of hesitation. You see, it's the "all things" in the verse that can cause that moment of ...well fear.

The "all things" can mean so many, many things, both good and bad. Both success and failures. Both suffering and tragedy. Both joy and sorrow.

In my lifetime thus far I have found that it's in the tragedies and suffering that I grow the most. I do not want to suffer and yet, I want to grow. But what does that mean I will need to go through? What are the "all things" that God will need to use in order for me to release that which I am holding on to?

This morning I read the following prayer-I'm so glad that there is someone else who feels as I do....

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the hard and sometimes uphill road I have had to walk in following you. I am stronger because of it. And we are closer because of it. For all the good things that have come to me along the way, I thank you.

But I have to say, I wish it were an easier way,
a shorter way,
a more scenic way.

I wish the road didn't have to go past the garden of Gethsemane, with its darkness and loneliness and tears.

I wish it just went in endless circles around the seashores of Galilee, and that walking with you were more of a serene stroll in the sunset.

Help me to understand that Gethsemane is as necessary as Galilee in the geography of a growing soul.

Help me to remember that even though you were a son, yet you leaned obedience through the things you suffered.

Paul talks about entering into the fellowship of your suffering. I do so very much look forward to having fellowship with you, but honestly, Lord, the thought of having to suffer to experience it stops me in my tracks.

Help me, Lord Jesus, to want your company more than I want serenity, and to love the fellowship with you more that I fear the suffering necessary to enter into it. (Ken Gire)

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