Divine Initiative

17th November, 2010 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

I was studying Acts 7 this morning and the commentator, John Stott,┬áreminded me of an important theological, yet very personal truth. In Stephen’s sermon to the Sanhedrin after his arrest, he emphasized God’s initiative in people’s lives. As Stott wrote, “It was God who appeared, spoke, sent, promised, punished and rescued.”

Looking at God’s relationship with Bible characters, we see how true this is. God called out to Adam and Eve in the garden. God appeared to Noah and gave him the instructions to build the ark. God called Abram out of Mesopotamia and led him all the way to Canaan. God met Jacob as he was fleeing from his angry brother Esau. God met Moses at the burning bush. I could go on and one, because in every person’s life, it’s God who takes the divine initiative. It’s God who reaches down to people who are hiding from Him, fleeing away from Him, or simply unaware of Him.

That’s makes me think of how divine initiative has changed the course of my life. Divine initiative is n’t just bringing us into a relationship with God, although without that none of us would know Him intimately. Divine initiative is God inserting Himself into the fabric of our lives and directing us in ways we would not otherwise go. Joseph would never have chosen prison in Egypt, but being in prison positioned him to be vice-ruler in Egypt. David certainly wouldn’t have chosen to be a fugitive living in caves and being in constant vigilance for his life. Yet his years of fleeing Saul’s wrath brought him closer to his God and his experiences produced divine poetry that speaks to our hearts today.

Forty years ago I would never have imagined that I would be where I am today. Not rich, not famous, but the path I’m on and the opportunity to write books and counsel hurting people was cut out for me by God’s initiative. These paths were not where I was heading. It was losing a job that started me writing God’s Great Covenant, and it was having personal struggles that prompted me to seek out a counselor and eventually go to seminary and become a counselor myself.

Divine initiative — God’s hand is so evident is my life, and as I get to know other people, I see God’s hand in their hands as well. As Stott says, “God was directing each stage of his people’s pilgrimage.”

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