How sovereign is our sovereign Lord? If we could answer this for ourselves we would stop trying to be so independent from him. I know, we think we are dependent on our Father but too often our dependence is reserved for crisis moments. When the "seas" are calm we just go on our merry way "doing whatever we think is best", just like the times of the Judges in Israel when they refused to recognize Yahweh as king. If we would recognize the sovereignty of Yahweh we wouldn't have to always go through the rough patches to learn our lessons. He is over all things and uses all things for our benefit.
So how sovereign is sovereign? Do you realize that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father wills it? Salvation is pretty basic stuff and yet it doesn't happen unless Father decides it's going to happen:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
It is a good thing that Dad wants everyone to be saved but it is also good to recognize that it is offered according to the Father's timing, We don't understand that timing, why it has to be a certain way but it is best that we trust Father. He is in charge. We don't need to twist arms. We can but we shouldn't. Let me share my testimony with you very briefly as an illustration.
I was raised in a Christian home, attending church and Sunday School, but I never encountered Jesus. At age 18 I walked away from the church, aware that the Lord had given one year to make up my mind. My pastor did not pursue me. He told me later that the Spirit told him to leave me alone. I thank the Lord he was sensitive and obedient to the Spirit. He and the church prayed for me as I quickly got mixed up in all kinds of things that introduced me to the "pleasures" of the world. It was a really strange thing but during this time I was made aware that the Lord had planned for me to be a pastor.
Then a year later, almost to the day, I woke up to the presence of the Lord. I heard him say "enough", and suddenly I was filled with the awareness of my sins. I was overwhelmed with the conviction of the Spirit for what I had done against Jesus. He spoke so many things to me from the lessons I had learned from the Bible in church. He brought it all back to my remembrance. I was aware that I had a choice but I didn't want't a choice. I quickly slipped out of bed and lay prostrate on the floor, wishing I could melt into the ground.
Then the Lord touched me with his love and I realized the sweetness of his forgiveness that was available to me if I wanted it. I wanted it! In an instant I confessed my sins, asked for his forgiveness and pledged my life to him and in that same instance all my guilt and shame was gone. I rose from my face a new creation and I was keenly aware of it.
If my pastor had chased me down it would have ended much differently. I needed to be drawn by the Father. I needed an encounter with Jesus myself. I needed my own faith. I needed to become deeply aware of what Jesus was saving me from. He knew my character, my mind and my heart and he knew how to present me with salvation in a way that I would never doubt him or turn away from him in the future. Every moment of doubt rushes me back to that moment and I am renewed. It was like Israel's Egypt moment.
Sometimes I think we forget that salvation belongs to the Lord and the timing is up to the Father. It's not about us. As long as we are faithful in our witness, in our testimony, in our seeding, then the Spirit will do the convicting according to Father's will. But don't use this fact about sovereignty as an excuse to neglect our role in the mission. He still told us to go throughout the earth as his witnesses, making disciples. But remember, we are only the sowers and not the Lord of the harvest.