The Divine Dance Between God’s Sovereignty and My Responsibility

Jackie is a dog whisperer. She calls herself a dog trainer, but if you watch this four-foot, eleven-inch woman handle a 150-pound dog, you’d know what I mean. I wanted Jackie to help me train our five-month-old puppy, but I couldn’t find her. I’d searched my emails and phoned where she used to work before running out of leads.

I do interior design work on the side. Every time I planned to visit the seamstress, something interfered. On a whim, I called another gal. On the way to her workroom, I again thought of Jackie. Imagine my curiosity when I spied a simple sign next door to the new seamstress’s shop that read “Dog Trainer.” A smaller sign in the window read “Jackie’s Dog Training.” Could it be the Jackie?

It was.

I marvel at my fruitless attempts to find her, my thwarted efforts to enroll in other dog training classes, and the nudges to go to a different seamstress. God had not let my yearning for Jackie die. It took a while, but at the right time, he connected our paths.

The mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility dances through Scripture. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9 NASB). In ballroom dance, each dancer is responsible for his or her own steps. The man’s role is to lead the dance. The woman’s role is to follow. A subtle touch is enough to direct an experienced dancer. A new dancer might need a quick pull to avoid colliding with another couple on the dance floor.

The mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility dances through Scripture. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9 NASB). #RefreshingFaith Share on X

Walking with God is a divine waltz of faith. It’s not our job to lead. Our role is to stay aware of our partner and follow His lead.

God uses our needs to direct our steps. I was reminded of this when fifty robins descended upon my five holly trees and devoured the red berries.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt. 6:26).

God supplied the berries, but hunger drove the birds to search for them.

Faith doesn’t mean idleness. Industry builds character and brings satisfaction. Able bodies that refuse to work sabotage their own character and happiness. Faith leads to action. When Ruth and Naomi needed food God used this ordinary need to accomplish His divine plan (Ruth 2).

Let the Dance Begin 

Boaz allowed the poor to glean his fields. He was also related to Elimelech (Naomi’s husband). This made him a candidate to marry Ruth and buy Elimelech’s land from Naomi. But how would this wealthy landowner and poor widow ever meet?

I love how the New American Standard version puts it: Ruth “happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech” (Ruth 2:3). And Boaz just happened to be captivated by her!

Boaz strode into his field with a heart bigger than Texas. Imagine working for a boss who blessed you when he checked on your progress.

Ruth probably didn’t sense God’s invisible lead that day. If she felt drawn to Boaz’s field, she couldn’t have imagined what awaited her. God used something as ordinary as hunger to direct Ruth to Boaz. He rewarded Boaz’s generosity to the poor with an introduction to Ruth. Simple needs, a gentle prompting, and voilà—the hand of God.

*An excerpt from Little Women, Big God.

Opportunities for You and Gifts for Mom

Do you need help recognizing God’s hand or walking in faith? Here are some resources for you and Mom.

Books to feed the soul. 

Small Group Online Studies

Thursday Evenings: 7-8:30 P.M. Our daughter Ginny will be leading a Zoom study for women on Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson beginning Thursday May 13 that runs twelve weeks through the summer. Contact us if you’re interested.

Tuesday Evenings: 7-8:30, June 1-July 27th, I’ll lead a group in discussing my award winning book, Little Faith, Big God on Zoom. Please contact me for more information to reserve your seat.

I hope you’ll consider joining us this summer.

Click here to comment.


Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory  #Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. J.D. Wininger

    I never really thought of my journey in faith as a dance; perhaps because God made me with “two left feet, and both made of lead.” Whether I’m dancing with Him in unison or plodding along behind and sometimes beside Him, I must listen for and watch for His cues. Sometimes they’re subtle, but I’ve learned that when I have failed to listen to His guidance for my life, He’s not afraid to step on my toes. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet friend.

    • Debbie Wilson

      You make me laugh, J.D. I love the thought of waltzing with the Lord. Larry and I took ballroom dance together. It was a challenge for me to follow his lead. Dancing comes easier to me so I tried to “help” him. The teacher would say, “Are you trying to lead?” I was. I was listening to her and trying to get him to catch up. That didn’t work well!

  2. Ann J Musico

    I love this Debbie. It reminds me of something I read a long time ago and have used with clients. The word “guidance” = God, You and I dance!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I’ve never heard that before, but I love it! Thanks so much!

  3. Michele Morin

    Only God could exercise the power he possesses and still find a way to preserve our freedom. It’s a paradox we will spend eternity praising him for!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Well said, Michele. A mystery that comforts me.

  4. ~ linda

    Through these weeks and months of more quiet than not, I am actually spending more time with God and waiting upon Him to show me the way…His Way. I am in need of direction and He is faithful to provide. Those “just so happens” moments are so great because God knew all along just what is needed and when. Praising Him with you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Linda, I love hearing how He is providing those “just so happens” moments for you. May we have eyes to see.

  5. Barb Hegreberg

    I love the dance analogy, what a beautifully intimate way to think about our relationship with the Father.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Barb. I love picturing that too. Staying in tune with my partner instead of figuring out what comes next.

  6. Marilyn Nutter

    Thanks Debbie, a topic for discussion and you handled it with grace–which is the way we dance! I like to think of following God’s lead and changing tempo, but I am moving in relationship with Him. I need to step too-as you pointed out with Ruth.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Marilyn, trying to ballroom dance with my husband showed the shortcomings of my personality. I kept wanting to direct him! If I’m not careful, that happens with my waltz with God.

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    I love this, Debbie. Years ago, when I was struggling with infertility, God showed me evidence of His sovereignty in my life. And, He revealed that in His sovereignty I saw His love. In that case, my role was to continue to seek after Him and learn to trust Him for however He chose to act regarding infertility. I love your examples of God’s sovereignty and our responsibilities.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeanne, I find great comfort in God’s sovereignty. It reminds me to trust even when I can’t see—like dancing backwards, which the woman usually is.

  8. Dawn Wilson

    This is so good. I’ve had friends who reject God’s sovereignty. For them, it’s all about our will and our plans. And I’ve noticed how they panic when those plans don’t turn out as they hoped. Missing the sovereignty of God robs us of hope and peace in the hard times; and there is joy in service when we learn to seek and recognize God’s hand at work in all our circumstances and all our labors for Him. You have wisely and correctly described the biblical balance in the “sacred dance.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      Dawn, knowing God is over all comforts me immensely. The fact we can’t explain how He is sovereign and yet we are still responsible for our part only shows how much higher His ways are than ours. Blessings to you, my friend!

  9. Sharon Hazel

    Yes I like that analogy of a dance, and to follow His gentle touch – or sometimes more of a push is needed- in the right direction!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sharon, I’m so thankful for those pushes when I need them!

  10. Mariel Davenport

    oh i love this metaphor so much! i have been teaching my younger son to dance in this season of proms and weddings and it is so sweet to consider my own dance with Jesus. shared to twitter. thank you for this word, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mariel, how wonderful your son is letting you teach him! And I love the thought of dancing with my Lord.

  11. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, this post paints a beautiful picture of our walk (dance) with God. Here’s my favorite part: “Walking with God is a divine waltz of faith. It’s not our job to lead. Our role is to stay aware of our partner and follow His lead.” Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jeannie!

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