Roberts Liardon tells us that the people were willing and ready, but Farel was a visionary with very little ability to distill it all into long-term leadership. He openly confessed his inability and lack of skill in this area. Because of Farel’s influence, Geneva became a Reformation city two years later. The government and the church would work closely together to see that Protestant beliefs prevailed. If someone refused Protestant instructions or caused trouble for its leaders, the person could be expelled from the city.
The setting was perfect, but Farel found himself exasperated. Who would lead the movement? Who had the ability to instruct the new converts and organize the budding church? As these questions burned within him, Farel heard John Calvin was in town for the night, and his heart leapt at the opportunity.
Roberts Liardon tells us that when speaking of that fateful night in Geneva, Calvin said, “God thrust me into the game.” I love that statement because it speaks of the sovereign hand of God working in the life of one whose heart is totally committed to Him. We may have our own plans, but God ultimately sets the course.
Calvin was enjoying a peaceful summer night in the heart of Geneva. Suddenly, someone was pounding on his door. He opened it to find a passionate veteran of the Reformation Farel begging him to stay and help establish the work in Geneva.
The sovereign hand of God works in the lives of those whose hearts are committed to Him. We may have our own plans, but God sets the course. Calvin saw the fl aming zeal of this man. Then, longing for the quiet library and a life of study, Calvin refused Farel’s request to remain in Geneva. He told Farel that he wanted to remain free, on his own, to study and write as he willed. Calvin continued, stating that he had no intentions of organizing a church or school because he had no desire for a public life. He wished to remain in seclusion. After all, he was only going to be there for one night.
Calvin had already planned his life, and Farel’s offer didn’t match Calvin’s desires.