One thing that God has impressed upon me lately is how amazing he is in his sovereignty. This has gone from a dry theological concept to something living and mighty in my life.
God's sovereignty and the prophetic
God is completely sovereign over everything that happens in this life and nowhere is this more evident to me than in the realm of the prophetic.
The prophetic is an area I have been growing in over the last several years. My understanding of the prophetic is basically that God is always speaking, both to us as individuals and to us as the Body of Christ and as the nation and the world. Growing in the prophetic is learning how He speaks and effectively communicating what He is speaking.
God speaks and guides us through Scripture, but He also speaks through many other ways. This includes circumstances, events, times, seasons and dates. His prophetic signs are everywhere for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
One way that God speaks to me is through time and numbers. There are repeated numbers that I keep seeing over and over again and a lot of the time when I check to see what the time is, it the same handful of times is over and over again.
For example, as a 37 year old over the last 12 months I have repeatedly seen the number 37 multiple times each day. The amount of times I would pick up my phone to see what the time is and it is 37 minutes past the hour is absolutely uncanny. It happens so often. Sometimes I will look at my phone at that same time every hour, 3:37, 4:37, 5:37, 6:37.
Somehow I am freely making my own decision to check the time and God on some larger level is willing me to check the time at 37 mins past the hour to give me a message of the significance of this time in my life.
Another example: recently I had been believing and contending for healing for a friend. I had prayed for this person a number of times and trusted it into God's hands. One of the ways that God had been stirring faith in me for healing is through me repeatedly seeing the numbers 515 which is representative of James Chapter 5, verse 15: And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
One night I was staying at a B'n'B and I was in a car driving back to the house. I noticed it was 5:15pm. Then we stopped at a general store to pick up a few things. The price of the 3 items I bought came to $5.15. Then as we drove into the drive away of the house I noticed on the letterbox we were staying at number 15 and I remembered that the date was the 15th. The following night we went to a Thai restaurant and there was one table available, which table? Table 15.
It amazes me how God brought all of these things together to stir my faith. And God has been faithful, and my friend has experienced significant improvements in health after months of severe ill-health.
Free will vs God's sovereignty
All of this raises some interesting theological questions for me.
A cornerstone of our theology for many of us is that God has given us free will. But it makes me wonder how free we really are when I can make my own decisions but at the same time God 'makes' it so I check my phone at 4:37pm or I buy a few items at the shops and it comes to exactly $5.15 at the right time.
So many times, have I seen God order time and circumstances in ways that I could never have organized or imagined. It is a mystery to our limited human understanding that God can so perfectly organise our actions to fulfill his purposes and yet none of this takes away from our own responsibility and accountability for our actions before God.
It doesn't seem fair on a human level that God could be sovereignly working out his plans through human actions both good and evil and yet at the same time he holds us entirely accountable for our actions. The only option we can come to is that God is simply beyond our rational understanding. Human thinking is finite and cannot possibly grasp these mysteries.
Conor is from Adelaide, South Australia. He has a history degree from Tabor College and has a gardening business. Conor has played in Christian heavy metal band Synnove. He is involved in Operation Canaan, a ministry that prays and intercedes for the music scene. He loves God, music, reading, traveling and thinking deeply about philosophy and current events in the world.
Conor Ryan’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/conor-ryan.html