Psalm 31:15 My times are in your hand
The things that happen to us and when they happen are all in God's hand. He is sovereign. Everything that happens to us is filtered through His hand, and is allowed for our ultimate (not necessarily temporary) good and His glory. We will not always see the reason, and sometimes our circumstances may be difficult or even horrific, but we know that through it all He is there with us and He is still on His throne.
The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What advantage comes from acknowledging God’s creation and providence?” And answers:
We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from his love, since all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot even move.
Rayburn makes an interesting note about our Acts passage....
If the question is "what must I do to be saved?" We should all answer, as Paul does here: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..." But, if the question is "why does one believe and not another" the answer is not "because he believed and she did not" but "the Lord opened Lydia's heart to respond to Paul's message." The Bible does ask that second question; often. And gives the same answer always: God gives his sheep eternal life, whom he loves he predestines to become conformed to the likeness of his Son, and those he predestines he calls and those he calls he justifies.
However much we are brought short by this doctrine and confused by it and troubled by it, as we all are from time to time, it is, after all, what happens. We have all seen this in speaking to people and in the conversion of people we know or hear about. One moment: darkness, unbelief, indifference to Christ and the next: clarity, faith, love, thrill in Christ's salvation.
This is what John 3:8 is referring to...
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Before salvation we are dead in our sins. Dead people cannot do anything, certainly not accept salvation. It is God who does it. God who prepares and opens the heart. God who calls. God who saves. We can take credit for nothing.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Psalms 33-34; Acts 16:22-40