Perspectives: Baby Lily, another cosmic coincidence?

OPINION – As a radio host, I’m constantly looking for intriguing topics that will engage my audience and spark discussion. Simply throwing red meat to the occupants of the partisan echo chamber is way too predictable.

A friend recently suggested asking my listeners to call in with personal experiences of situations where things inexplicably lined up in their lives in such a way that something incredible took place.

It turned out to be a great discussion and my phones rang off the hook with callers sharing their stories. Some described their experiences as miracles while others were more comfortable calling them cosmic coincidences.

There was a good mix of religious and secular viewpoints but all the contributors felt that they had been a part of something remarkable. Their experiences all seemed to point to a type of truth that cannot be quantified by our five senses.

It was ironic when, a day later, the story of Baby Lily hit the news.

Late at night, Lily’s mother had lost control of her car and landed upside down in the Spanish Fork river. A fisherman spotted the car the next day and notified authorities.

When first responders arrived, they could not see into the vehicle which was partially submerged. At least four of the police officers who were there at the scene described clearly hearing a faint voice pleading for help.

They sprang into action and, with the help of firefighters, managed to tip the car on its side to get a look inside of it. To their astonishment, they found 18-month-old Lily Groesbeck still alive and strapped into her car seat.

Her mother Jenny had died in the accident.

Rescuers quickly freed the freezing toddler and she was rushed to the hospital where she made what doctors are calling a “miraculous” recovery.

The story quickly went viral and has become an inspiring ray of hope in an otherwise gloomy event.

It’s been interesting to watch the various reactions to the police officers who heroically waded into the freezing water upon hearing the mysterious voice. Many are calling it a miracle that they were prompted to take decisive actions to save Baby Lily.

Others are not so open-minded in their assessment. They accuse the officers of “attention whoring” for the sake of getting in front of television cameras. They take offense at what they regard as shameless faith-mongering.

They mock those who credit Baby Lily’s survival to divine intervention as weak-minded and superstitious. They ask how a loving God would have allowed the crash to happen in the first place.

It’s a curious and disproportionate reaction.

The naysayers seem to be saying, “I don’t know if there is a spiritual reality and therefore you can’t know either.” Their contemptuous dismissal of the faith of others leaves us more certain of what they’re against than what they might stand for.

Believers are often portrayed as simultaneously gullible and fanatical. Nonbelievers, on the other hand, are presumed to be rational and sophisticated with a keen sense of irony. Reality is a bit more nuanced.

People of faith experience times when their belief ebbs and flows. Even those who lose their faith for a season and then find a place for it again in their lives aren’t necessarily being irrational..

More often than not, their faith created an added dimension of fullness in their lives; something they didn’t recognize until it was missing. When they share their faith with others, it is out of an eagerness to inspire them to look up rather than a selfish desire to impose common misery.

A simple expression of gratitude or faith in God does not mock or ridicule those who don’t believe. It merely reflects a personal conviction that cannot be imposed on others by declaration. Each person must choose to find it for themselves.

It is a matter of deeply personal choice.

If the spiritual hunger observed throughout the history of mankind is nothing more than an aberration, why has this mass delusion been so universal? With all of our modern advancements and achievements, why do so many people still find room for ancient ideas like faith?

Tender mercies are still found in an often cruel world. When they happen, they typically happen in small ways that leave us free to make up our own minds as to whether to believe or not.

We can choose to focus on the tragedy of Lily’s mother perishing in the crash as proof that God is either absent or heartless.  But we risk missing a perfect example of divine mercy and loving kindness staring us in the face.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • BIG GUY March 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

    A very thoughtful article with a powerful message for both believers and unbelievers. Well written. Great job, Bryan.

  • anybody home March 16, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I know people who believe in this miracle will not be swayed but I ask them to consider the thousands of other people on the planet who died that same day in horrendous circumstances – war, starvation, accidents, the ways to die are many. How do you explain that one child in a car in Utah was “miraculously saved by a mysterious voice” and those countless others were allowed to die. Please describe for me the god you have in mind who makes this kind of choice and why.
    It’s interesting to me that so many people who are so big on conspiracies and can find reasons, usually accusations, for what they consider terrible things happening in the world are so eager to accept the idea of miracles and cosmic coincidences when it comes to single incidents like this. Something else is at work in their heads and I’m curious about what it is.
    That said, I’m glad the baby survived.

    • ladybugavenger March 16, 2015 at 11:33 am

      God’s ways are not our ways. People who get in car accidents and others die and that one person survives they struggle with the same questions you bring up. They struggle with why they survived and why they didn’t die. Anybody home, you either believe in God or you don’t. You will have your come to Jesus moment one day.

      • anybody home March 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        I’ll grant you, LBA, that this was an amazing rescue but I don’t see anything cosmic about it. Sounds like the EMTs were doing their job and got there in time to save the child. You don’t know whether I believe in God or not or whether I’ve had a come to Jesus moment. A person can believe in God without getting hyped about a “cosmic coincidence.”

        • ladybugavenger March 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

          Cosmics don’t have anything to do with believing in God. Because one that believes in God would say it is God not cosmic…..thanks for the grant 🙂

      • ladybugavenger March 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

        Since you enjoy arguing I’ll go one step further: someone who has come to Jesus would same yes I have or Amen, and not the ole you don’t know what I believe in. Have a nice day AH

        • ladybugavenger March 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

          And AH, you’re absolutely right I don’t know if you’ve had a come to Jesus moment, but thanks for clearing it up

          • anybody home March 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

            I hope your axe is nice and sharp after grinding away with so many responses. And just for the record, it was Bryan who brought up the cosmic idea. I just responded to it…A person offering a different point of view is not arguing – it’s just offering a different point of view. That’s not much allowed around here. Everybody’s supposed to shut up and drink the kool aid.

  • laytonian March 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

    While the “I’m better than you because I believe there’s a unicorn in the sky” crowd uses this as a money-faith promoting rarity, how about being logical.
    First responders ALWAYS make sure that everyone is out of a car; their inner voice tells them to HELP.

    BUT, even more important: while people are throwing money at the family, please look at the father’s criminal background. There will likely be over one hundred thousand dollars left after the mother’s funeral expenses and that money should be put in a trust fund for the little girl.
    Otherwise, it’s likely she will never see a dime. The mom didn’t pick a “clean” man to father her child. Why couldn’t he get a job in Utah?

  • fun bag March 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

    My goodness, there wasn’t even any kind of anti-gubmunt tirade worked into that. Must have been Obama’s fault that the car went off the road and killed the poor mother, but it was by the holy spirit of Mitt Romney that the innocent baby child was spared! Amen.

  • NotSoFast March 16, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Excellent article Bryan.
    Although thoughts of some might be ‘bull humbug’ on this article and they rather see the bad life experiences of many others as prove of Gods discrimination (and/or) nonexistence, they have that choice. If they want to protest in the streets about it, so be it. Sad but that’s life.

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