After hearing a preacher on the radio yesterday and reading Romans 9:14-21, I find myself with a few serious questions. I like to write these devotions in hopes that they will inspire others. But sometimes, I need to write a devotion when I need inspiring, or at least when I have questions. I am not a Bible scholar, and all I can do is read Scripture and pray for understanding. But I know many of my readers are much further along on their spiritual walk, and I am hoping they will respond to my questions. Hopefully, I can get these things sorted. And just maybe, you have some of the same questions. I am in hopes that your responses will help all of us. Here's my struggle.
The preacher on the radio was saying that he finished 4 years of college and then 6 years in Seminary. But he said that the fact that he received his degrees so that he could become a preacher had absolutely nothing to do with his effort. He said it was all a gift from God. My question about that is, although it was a gift of God, didn't the preacher still have to accept the gift and also work hard at studying? If what he is saying that he had nothing to do with it and it was all from God, then doesn't that mean that a murderer or rapist can claim that God made him that way and that it had nothing to do with him. God did give us choice! Further, in Romans 9:14-21, it seems to back up what the preacher said. Paraphrasing, the Scripture says that God chooses who He will show mercy and who he will harden. It also seems like it is saying that God completely chooses whom He will honor and dishonor. I have read those verses several times, and it just seems to me to be saying that we really don't have any will or say so in matters; It is completely up to God. But that can't be right, can it? I MUST be missing something. Yes, God blesses us, shows mercy, and sends us through storms that seem to be completely out of our control. But don't I have some choice? Help!
Father, I love you and want to please You in every way. I have accepted Jesus as my Personal Savior, and according to Your perfect Word, I am saved and have eternal life. But is there anything we can do by choice to help turn around certain situations? I ask you to touch the hearts of those who know more about the Bible than I do. Help them to respond on here so I, and maybe somebody else, can uncover Your truth in this matter. In Jesus name, Amen.