This week’s blog post on “The Book That Changed My Life” is from a lady. Her name is Sylvia Kalenga. She used to be a member of Kabwata Baptist Church in the early part of my ministry and so this testimony is from those early years. Sylvia is now a lecturer by profession working in Tsabong, Botswana. A single-mother with two sons, aged 22 and 20 years. Both of them have now completed secondary education. She always expresses gratitude for this. To borrow her own words, “I remain greatly indebted to God for his love and grace in bringing up these boys, with the unwavering love and support of my family.” Sylvia is currently in an Assemblies of God church and actively serves in the women’s ministry there. Well, here is her story…
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If I were to be asked to write about a hymn that changed my life it would be “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform…” by William Cowper. As for the book that changed my life, it certainly is The Sovereignty of God by A W Pink.
1992 was not a good year for me. Having lost one of my twins and a few months later, separated from my husband, the reality of a loving God, permitting what I was going through, was hard to digest. Thankfully, during this period when I was asking the why’s and why me, I moved into the home of Pastor Mbewe and stayed with the family for a year. I profited a lot from their life and counsel and equally from many books in the home library; but one book to-date stands out and it is The Sovereignty of God by A W Pink.
The author seeks to show that God has dominion over his creation. In other words He controls all things according to His good pleasure and that nothing happens without God knowing or directing it. The latter immediately raises the charge that such a teaching is a horrible calumny upon God but as you delve into the book you discover that, on the contrary, it magnifies God’s grace, ascribes all glory to Him and removes every ground of boasting from the creature. He shows that the one who is Governor over the nations and who has ordained and now regulates all events, is infinite not only in power but in wisdom and goodness as well.
He also shows that salvation is of God in its origination, in its operation and in its consummation. Yet, the balance of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is maintained in the book as the two are not contradictory but complimentary and must be set in their proper proportion. Thus, instead of hindering the development of Christian character, an appreciation of God’s sovereignty causes the Christian to press on towards the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. For instance, whilst Jesus declares that no sheep can perish, the Christian is exhorted to make his calling and election sure.
Reading through this book, not only melted my heart and deepened my adoration of God but also magnified His grace to me, a sinner. It exposed my utter helplessness and hopelessness outside Christ and increased my faith in a never-failing God, who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. It helped me to rest on his abiding power and grace with full assurance that in all things God works for my good. It gave me a sense of confidence and absolute security that no evil would befall me without God permitting it. It brought great comfort and provided much peace to my soul to know that there is no corner that God cannot reach because He is everywhere and that there is no situation that He does not know about because His omnipotent hand is upon everyone and everything. It was gratifying to know that my affliction did not come by chance but was ordered by God and that through it He was working out something for my good. It was overwhelming to know that God is too wise to err and too loving to cause me a needless tear. Bowing before the Sovereign will of God brought a great sense of peace and happiness in my soul. It moved me from self-pity and got me actively involved in the church again.
Hence I can now confidently say by the grace of God I am what I am!