I had received the left foot of fellowship from two denominations.
I had given up everything to follow Jesus and Jesus’s followers wouldn’t have me.
I’d walked the straight and narrow right off a cliff.
I was depressed…more like despondent.
It was at the lowest point of this part of the journey that I thought I heard the Lord order me to order some sermons from some guy I’d heard on the radio in another town.
So…I subscribed via real mail to Steve Brown’s “Key Life”.
The first tape opens with…”if your circumstances are miserable, blame God.”
That was heresy to my free will, “just pray harder and do more” ears…then Brown developed his message of the sovereignty of God in all things from the Scriptures and I began to feel like I was born again…again.
Then came Arthur Pinks “The Sovereignty of God” which is the Calvinist sledgehammer of sovereignty.
The Word of God opened up to me in a way I’d never seen before…it was as if the scales fell from my eyes.
God was in charge, He was at work and nothing could stay His hand or thwart His purpose.
My trials were sculpted with love specifically for me to be transformed into the image of His son.
I had done nothing to earn my salvation, nor could I do anything to lose it…I was finally, truly, somebody’s son and this Father didn’t throw away His kids.
The fact that I was still breathing meant He wasn’t done with me…He was in complete control and we were really just starting.
The commands to “don’t worry”, and “don’t be anxious” now made sense…I could rest because the outcomes didn’t depend on me, but on the grace and love of my omnipotent Father.
The truth that nothing either good or evil could happen to me without first passing through a nail scarred hand was the truth that set me free…free to risk, free to love, free to enjoy my liberty in Him,free to fail…free to really live.
The years have mellowed me…I went through the “cage stage” where when one sees the beauty of freedom in the doctrines of grace they try to convert everyone to their systematic theology and need to be caged till they calm down.
There are chinks in the system…socks sticking out of the well packed theological suitcase.
This is good…that which we can completely understand we inevitably seek to control.
My God can’t be controlled or even partially understood…He is God and I am not and as my teacher says when we don’t understand something, that is a call to worship.
We should worship far more than we inquire…
John Calvin would despise the fact that his name is attached to a sect…I know John and he would also be aghast at much that has been taught in his name.
He was simply a Christ follower who God took aside one day and whispered truths to that he repeated back in our hearing.
They are great truths, but they are not the only truths…Calvin always pointed back to the Word and to Christ and he loved the the truths that God whispered in the ears of others.
So do I…