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.
- St. George is a town of miracles: A thank you to the angels
- Marva’s miracle: Two years later, hit-and-run victim’s recovery defies the odds
- Perspectives: How many coincidences does it take to make a miracle?
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.