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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yes, Virginia, There is a God

Perhaps you've heard this report about a victim of the Aurora shootings. Petra Anderson, age 22, was at the movies that night when the gunman opened fire. She took three shotgun pellets in the arm and one through the nose, riding straight through her brain and lodging at the back of her skull. The doctors were not optimistic. She might survive, but she would likely have serious impairment of speech and motor and cognitive abilities.

Contrary to medical science, Petra is now out of the ICU. She is speaking, walking, and doing quite well, thank you very much. Why? As it turns out, Petra had a brain anomaly of which she was quite unaware. It didn't cause her any problem -- never would have. There was a tiny channel of fluid running through her brain. And the shotgun pellet entered this defect and followed it through her brain to the back of the skull, causing no brain damage.

Call it what you will. Anti-Christians are calling it "random". Skeptics are calling it "luck", "chance". Believers are calling it a miracle. Her pastor is calling it "prevenient grace", "God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future." I, of course, can't help but see the hand of God.

Now, before you raise your hands in praise to the Almighty and thank God that He saved this girl in a most amazing way, you need to ask yourself some very important questions. If you believe (as I do) that it was the hand of God, what about the other 12 ... the ones who died? What happened there? Did God intend for them to die? Or was He only able to save those He liked more than others? What about the others who were shot and injured? Couldn't He have prevented it? Or are His hands tied by Human Free Will? Look, even now Petra's family is not out of difficulty. Her mother is battling terminal breast cancer. God can save Petra, but not her mother? Before you play the "miracle" card here, you need to be able to answer these questions.

Me? I believe that everyone who died was part of God's plan. I believe that those who were shot were part of God's plan. I believe that God works all things according to the counsel of His will and not a single aspect of this event serves as an exception. I wouldn't even venture to guess what God's plan is in all the details of this event, but that doesn't mean I have to question God, His Providence, His goodness, or His omnipotence. I don't have any problem with those questions. I know, however, that a lot of Christians do. So while I'm rejoicing that God wonderfully saved this young girl in a remarkable way and I'm continuing to pray for the other victims and their families (as well as the gunman and his family), I can say with certainty that God is still on the throne, that He is still at work, that He will still work all things together for good.

You? You'll have to figure out where you stand. Events like this tend to produce three types of people. There are people like me who see it as an affirmation that there is a God in heaven who is still at work even in the worst that humans can do. There are those who live with cognitive dissonance: "Yes! God saved her miraculously! No! God didn't intend for any of it!" There are those who end up skeptics. "Wait a minute! Sure, it looks like a miracle, but what about the rest? Maybe there is no God." Comfort, confusion, or cynical hopelessness. Which are you?

I just wish those guys over at Pyromaniacs would quit copying me.

1 comment:

Gina Burgess said...

Amen and amen!

We are plenty blessed that God does explain Himself in the Bible. Why isn't that enough for folks?


Engraved in His palm,