By David Prairie
There are at least two ways to become convinced of the sovereignty of God. The first way is to have it shown to you by others. This could be done through Bible reading, as the Scriptural authors teach those who search the Scriptures, or through the gift of sitting under the (written or spoken) teaching of godly shepherds as they expound the glory of God in the pages of the Bible.
The second way to become convinced of God’s sovereignty is to become aware of it experientially. That is to say, God orchestrates the events of your life in such a way that he shows himself to be completely sufficient in all things. His sovereignty becomes the only necessary explanation for all the why’s and what’s in life.
I have become convinced of the reality of God’s sovereignty by both means. I was about 13 when I began reading the Bible for myself and making mental (and occasionally written) observations about the character of God and what that meant for my life and for the entire world. At about age 18, I began to discuss reformed theology (though I wouldn’t have known it by that name at that time) with professors and fellow students in undergrad coursework. At first, the idea of God’s sovereignty, especially regarding salvation, sounded mean and unloving. I was not immediately convinced, though I was not completely dismissive either.
In my early 20’s I read such things as “Desiring God” by John Piper and “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan and “Knowing God” by J. I. Packer. These men shaped (or warped) my thinking to the extent that I could never go back. The doctrines of grace became foundational for me. But it wasn’t all theoretical.
I experienced the sovereignty of God at the death of my father when I was 14. It was natural to question God, but God didn’t allow my questioning to turn into hostility against him for something that I didn’t understand. As years have passed, I have seen the deaths of countless other family members and other fellow believers. In all of those trials, God seems to know what he’s doing.
Now I find myself pursuing missionary work across the globe. We are in the process of attempting to raise financial support for this task, and after a little more than a year, we are only about one-third of the way to our goal. It is tempting to become discouraged and restless. But the anchor not only of this process but of our desire to serve the Lord in another culture is the sovereign grace of God himself.
If I did not believe in the sovereignty of God
1. I would see the deaths of believers as illogical.
2. I would view preaching as trying to muster up a weekly motivational speech.
3. I would think of missions and evangelism as man’s attempts to convince the lost of their need for a Savior.
4. I would despise this phase of support-raising (even more than I already do) because I would continually question whether or not I was truly obedient to God.
5. I would seek the comfortable and easy ways for myself and my family to “be Christian.”
But God is sovereign. He does all that he pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). He calls the lost to salvation. He calls some to go as missionaries and others to send and support the goers. He uses his word to display his glory and to proclaim the good news of his power and grace toward his people.
PS: We are praying for more meetings with churches and individuals who can partner with us to help us reach our financial goals. If you are able to take us on for monthly support please visit abwe.org/give. If you have potential connections for us, please email email@example.com.