What causes things to happen?
Does that sound like a dumb question? Seriously—has God ordained everything and we are just going through the motions, or is he just watching as we act out human history? How do you fit into the scheme of the universe? Are your deeds your free choice, or is God controlling everything? Do you have marionette strings attached to your hands and feet? Or are you on your own?
The answer is yes to all of the above. There is a double causality to everything that happens, and we do not have the vantage point or ability to navigate time and eternity to keep them apart. Both God and we interact in earth’s history. Here’s an example: “When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought him tribute. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (1 Chronicles 18:5,6).
So—did David win the victory or did God win the victory? The answer is yes. David’s courage and military skill and God’s sovereign will and almighty power were all at work. Can you abide this paradox? God is at work in your life, leading and guiding and protecting and nudging and compelling. You are an independent agent in your life. Your words and deeds matter. Your choices have real consequences.
God works. We work.