Lucky Chance

I can’t remember the circumstance that prompted it, but I recently had the classic Christianese thought: “There but by the grace of God, go I.” It means, if God hadn’t put me in such a good life, I could be where that unfortunate person is.

It was probably in my head due to thinking about ISIS and the horrors of extremist religious oppression. Knowing what a rule-follower I was as a child all the way into my early thirties, I thought if I’d been born into that extremist Islamic culture, I would be one of those women who was all about following the rules I was taught unquestioningly. I might be waving a gun around, patrolling the streets looking for rule-breakers, and cheering on horrific acts. There but by the grace of God…

Or I might’ve been thinking about Liberia and the Ebola outbreak where people don’t have access to the same excellent health care I do. Where they have to hide the fact they or their family members might be sick so that they aren’t ostracized. There but by the grace of God, go I.

But now I’m questioning that, simply because I know God loves us all perfectly and equally. Is it really loving to pick and choose which soul gets born into a safer, clean environment, and which gets born into a slum? Or is it kinder for God to allow chance to take place, to allow for blind luck?

Am I blessed? Or am I just lucky? I think the latter may be more fair from a Christian point of view. God may know when a sparrow falls, but it doesn’t say he chooses which sparrow will fall.

If I am not blessed, if I am just lucky, some of my specialness is taken away. That may be a good thing. It doesn’t change God’s love for me if I was not specially chosen to have the privileged life I do. But it can introduce more humility into my heart. These days I feel more lucky than blessed. And I don’t think God’s offended at all by that.

Sandy Hook Elementary

I don’t know what it is within us, made in God’s image, that would allow us to take a gun into a school and shoot unarmed teachers and children. I don’t understand how we, who began so beautifully, could degrade so completely as to commit this kind of act. If humanity’s decline was charted through history, the red and bloody line would only ever trend down into darkness. And yet, from this story, I see another line through history also in blood, but turning to gold that trends only upwards. The teachers and staff who showed “no greater love than this” by giving up their own lives so that others could live.

Why does it take darkness for light to shine its brightest?