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Would God Interfere with Our Free Will?

Tim Challies
Tim Challies

 

Some Christians see God as a kindly but passive observer of our choices. After all, God wouldn’t ever interfere with our free will, would He? "Ask Jonah and a wry smile would come over his face.” This is how Colin Smith introduces a fictional anecdote from the life of the prophet Jonah:

Would God ever interfere with our free will?

Hmmm … let’s see.

I had made my choice. I suppressed my conscience, steeled my nerves and, by a free act of my own will, boarded the ship to Tarshish. But God would not let me go.

My will was taking me in the wrong direction. So God made an intervention, graciously messing with my rebellious heart to save me from a life wasted in disobedience.

God stepped into my life uninvited, through an unexpected storm, rolling dice, and pounding waves that pushed me down until, finally, I came to my senses and called on the Lord, only to find that He had already planned and provided for my salvation by sending a great fish.

But that was only the beginning. Having stretched myself out in ministry, I experienced a strange darkness in which I was overcome by resentment. Left to myself, I would have slouched into retirement angry with God and bitter about the events that had shaped my life. But God stepped in and showed me His compassion.

Would God interfere with our free will? I’m glad He interfered with mine! Left to myself, I would still be running from God, and who knows where I would be today? Rebellion and resentment were my foolish choice. Salvation comes from the Lord.

 
Originally published April 16, 2013.

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