Perspectives: How many coincidences does it take to make a miracle?

OPINION – Not so long ago, a simple phone call changed my carefree Saturday afternoon into a life or death predicament.

The call came from a friend who lives near Beryl Junction. He told me that he had just received a phone call from our mutual friend Scott who had flipped his four-wheeler while riding alone on Beaver Mountain and was still pinned under the machine.

Scott had repeatedly tried calling 911 for the better part of an hour but his cell phone coverage would drop every time he got an operator on the line. In desperation, he tried calling my buddy and this time the cell service lasted for several minutes. That was just enough time for Scott to explain his situation and give details about his location.

My friend called me to see if I knew anyone in Beaver who could get to Scott quickly since it would take at least 90 minutes for either one of us to reach him. Time was a concern since Scott was in great pain and fading in and out of consciousness.

I was able to come up with the phone number for a friend who was a Beaver County deputy. This friend, in turn, gave me the number for Beaver County dispatch and a couple of minutes later, my buddy had a dispatcher on the line and was giving clear directions to where Scott was trapped.

In the end, Scott was rescued. He was bruised and sore but with no broken bones and no internal injuries, just embarrassed and a bit wiser for his ordeal, but none the worse for the wear. It was a huge relief to hear that he was safe just a short time later. It may sound like no big deal, but I’m convinced that something more than pure luck played into this fortunate outcome.

The number of small coincidences that fell into place only became clear as we looked back on what had happened.

The responding deputies noted that cellular coverage was next to impossible in the area where Scott had wrecked. They said the fact that he was able to reach anyone was remarkable. But the only person he was able to reach was still over 100 miles away and had no Internet service to look up the number for Beaver County dispatch.

After taking Scott’s call, that friend later told me that my name popped into his head as he considered whom he should call. At the moment he called me, I was near my computer and able to get him the dispatcher’s number within minutes.

This is where the coincidences really started falling into place.

As rescue personnel were mobilizing, the dispatcher made another phone call to two other deputies who might be nearby. By chance, these deputies who were a husband and wife, were coming back down Beaver Canyon at that very moment. When the dispatcher described Scott’s location, these deputies recognized the area well enough to know exactly where to find him. In fact, they were only five minutes from where he lay pinned beneath his four-wheeler.

This experience left me wondering exactly how many little coincidences must accrue before we can safely use the word “miracle”?

Does ascribing miraculous qualities to the remarkable number of timely events that occurred cheapen or diminish the happy outcome? Clearly, to some people, nothing can be a miracle if it promotes an acknowledgement of God. But if believers choose to see this incident as an assurance of the tender mercies of a Creator toward his children, must nonbelievers feel compelled to discredit them?

Scott made no secret of the fact that he had spent the majority of his time trapped under his machine getting better acquainted with his Maker. I think many of us would do this if we found ourselves in similar dire circumstances.

Joseph Sobran used to point out that, “because we need nutrition, we feel hunger. What does it tell us that all men have spiritual hungers? Only that they are all deluded? Or is it that they all crave the ‘poison’ of religion? If the spiritual is a mere delusion, of which our animal nature has no real need, how odd that it should be a universal delusion, rather than a local cultural eccentricity.”

It’s easy to feel small and insignificant in a universe whose vastness we are only beginning to comprehend. My friend Scott’s experience helps to remind me that we all matter in the grand scheme of things.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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Posted in Columnists, Explore, Opinion / Columns / Shows, ReligionTagged , , , , , , ,

6 Comments

  • Average Joe March 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Was the accident caused by carelessness?

  • Mark March 18, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I think you’re rationalizing God into a situation after the fact. God could have kept the accident from happening. God could have made his cell call to 911 go through with no issue.

    There is great beauty in the works of humanity. Humans invented and built the cell towers. Scott called a human and through human intervention was rescued. People are awesome and it minimizes their efforts when you say they were just puppets in God’s show.

    • Average Joe March 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Mark, you’re right on target with that comment. A true miracle would have been just as the ATV was flipping over, if some magical hand appeared out of nowhere and caught it in mid-air, righted it and set it down gently with no harm to ATV or operator. If that would have been too much a miracle, then that magical hand could have plucked him off that ATV and set him down unharmed while the vehicle flipped over.

      In the spirit of “miracle”, I fail to see how some spiritual deity intervened to prevent the accident. Maybe there was some spiritual deity intervention that prevented the guy from killing himself if the accident perhaps caused by his own carelessness.

      But then, could we say the accident was caused by an anti-miracle (opposite of miracle) which was cancelled out the following miracle, making it a normal event, or for every Yin, there’s a Yang?

  • Rachel March 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Oh, you’re no fun, Joe & Mark! Miracles aren’t to show us how powerful God is, but to help us feel His love. Your version would have been a self-indulgent, very minimally impactful one. It’s way more fun, more perfectly “miraculous” when a lot of random confluences draw unrelated people into the event. This incident is a perfect example of that kind of miracle.

  • brocket March 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Why do you need a computer and Internet to get a phone number? Ever hear of calling information? 411?

  • brocket March 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    …” But the only person he was able to reach was still over 100 miles away and had no Internet service to look up the number for Beaver County dispatch.”

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