GOD, sovereignty of
Here is a correction in understanding the sovereignty of God as told by a writer in Our
Daily Bread: In "Our Daily Bread," I told how a Christian providentially escaped
death. An unexpected delay in New York kept him from catching Flight 191 in Chicago, which
crashed with all 254 aboard. That article brought this note from a reader: "I just
had to let you know about one of God's great saints who ran to make Flight 191--and made
it!" His name was Edwards E. Elliott, beloved pastor of the Garden Grove Orthodox
Presbyterian Church in California. His plane from Pennsylvania was late, and a friend who
had accompanied him to Chicago said he last saw him "dashing forward" in the
terminal to make his connection. As I read about Pastor Elliott's fruitful ministry, the
question I raised in that June devotional challenged me with new urgency: "Was Divine
providence operating only in New York and not in Chicago?" Immediately the words of
my correspondent came alive: "At the time, Reverend Elliott didn't know he was indeed
running to Heaven...Mrs. Elliott and her four married children comforted the entire
church. Their Christian faith and testimony in sorrow was most extraordinary."
D.J.D., Our Daily Bread, June, 1980.
Newscaster Paul Harvey told a remarkable story of God's providential care over
thousands of allied prisoners during World War II, many of whom were Christians. One of
America's mighty bombers took off from the island of Guam headed for Kokura, Japan, with a
deadly cargo. Because clouds covered the target area, the sleek B-29 circled for nearly an
hour until its fuel supply reached the danger point. The captain and his crew, frustrated
because they were right over the primary target yet not able to fulfill their mission,
finally decided they had better go for the secondary target. Changing course, they found
that the sky was clear. The command was given, "Bombs away!" and the B-29 headed
for its home base. Some time later an officer received some startling information from
military intelligence. Just one week before that bombing mission, the Japanese had
transferred one of their largest concentrations of captured Americans to the city of
Kokura. Upon reading this, the officer exclaimed, "Thank God for that protecting
cloud! If the city hadn't been hidden from the bomber, it would have been destroyed and
thousands of American boys would have died." God's ways are behind the scenes; but He
moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this, and let Him work.
John Nelson Darby.
In the frigid waters around Greenland are countless icebergs, some little and some
gigantic. If you'd observe them carefully, you'd notice that sometimes the small ice floes
move in one direction while their massive counterparts flow in another. The explanation is
simple. Surface winds drive the little ones, whereas the huge masses of ice are carried
along by deep ocean currents. When we face trials and tragedies, it's helpful to see our
lives as being subject to two forces--surface winds and ocean currents. The winds
represent everything changeable, unpredictable, and distressing. But operating
simultaneously with these gusts and gales is another force that's even more powerful. It
is the sure movement of God's wise and sovereign purposes, the deep flow of His unchanging
Again, it may be seen from this promise that God, to some extent, has seen fit to
condition His action upon the believer's prayer; for the Scripture says; "If ye shall
ask anything in my name, I will do it"; and this is the secret of all true
evangelism...It is, then, the teaching of Scripture that the action of the mighty power of
God in convicting and illuminating the unsaved is also, in a large measure, dependent upon
the priestly intercession of the believer.
L.S. Chafer, True Evangelism, p. 90-1.
During his days as guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R.B. Kuiper once used the
following illustration of God's sovereignty and human responsibility: I liken them to two
ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support
myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go
I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God's election, predestination, his
chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding 'whosoever will may come' and
urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming
contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling
to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are,
after all, of one piece."
John Morren, Lake City, Michigan.