|Photo Credit: Jonathan Farrington's blog: http://www.thejfblogit.co.uk/2009/08/04/successful-networking-means-taking-an-interest-in-anybody-everybody/|
Much of what we are today were shaped by the wills and desires of people around us; and much of what we will be in the future is contingent upon other people's future courses of action.
If God is not in control over man's “free will”, then I will suffer from non-stop anxiety over what other people might do. One action from a neighbor could ruin my life. But thank God I don't have to worry about that because the Bible reveals that God is Sovereign even in the wills and desires of people around me. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. “All things” in that verse certainly includes men's decisions or else the word “all” would lose its meaning.
Proverbs 21:1 says “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes."
That is demonstrated when Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken in the entire Roman world. He thought he was in control; he thought he was calling the shots. He doesn't know however that his heart is in the the hands of the Sovereign God. Because of that census, Joseph and Mary were compelled to travel from Nazareth to Joseph's hometown to comply with the king's order. Thus, the prophecy that the Messiah will be born in the little town of Betlehem was fulfilled (Micah 5:2).
Another demonstration of God's sovereignty over the wills and desires of the people around us is that when the Egyptians who were by nature harsh in their treatment of the Israelite slaves suddenly became very generous towards their subjects. They were economically depleted because of the nine recent plagues that fell on them but when the Israelites asked for articles of gold, silver and clothing, they gave abundantly that by this means, the Israelites plundered the Egyptians. How could that be? It was because “The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people” (Exodus 12:36)
This is astonishing! There were more than 50 million registered voters for this year's national elections and God is sovereign over the wills and desires of every one of them-- even for those who have chosen to abstain!
This also means that for every Administrative Order that will be issued by Malacanang and for every bill that shall be passed or rejected by both houses of Congress for the next six years, God is in control. He is working for your welfare not just through good laws and policies but through the bad ones as well.
If you are a job seeker, you don't have to worry about the number of applicants falling in line or by the toughness of the competition. When the boss says “You're in”, God is at work; When the boss says “You're out”, God is also at work. In both cases, God causes all things to work together for your good.
When you are a businessman, you should thank God for every customer or client that approches you. The only reason why he did not go to the other store or dined at the other restaurant is because God is Sovereign over his wills and desires.
If you're dreaming to study in a prestigious university in Metro Manila or somewhere else and you're parents shouted “NO, study in Dagupan!”, you are not missing anything. You are studying in Dagupan according to God's purpose and it is good for you.
God was Sovereign when your father courted your mother. When your mother said “Yes” to your father, God was at work. Thank God then for you were born because of God's Sovereignty over the wills and desires of your parents.
If you are a young man, and you have pounded the doors of heaven until your hands are swollen; yet your dream girl rejects you in favor of another guy, rejoice in the Lord! God caused the rejection to happen for your good.
If you are a young woman and you have spent half a decade on your knees asking God for that handsome gentleman; yet he fell for your best friend, rejoice in the Lord! By his wisdom and goodness, God withheld what you are asking for in exchange of something (or someone???) better.
And how were you saved? Someone shared you the gospel in obedience to the Lord's Great Commission. God worked in the heart of that person both to will and to act according to God's good purpose (Philippians 2:13). If God did not work in his heart, he will not even have the desire to obey the Great Commission.
The people around us, including the really irritating ones are God's servants for your good. Praise the Lord!