Chance or fate?

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

On Aug. 1 Charles Gib­son closed the broad­cast of “The World News Tonight,” with a com­men­tary on the bridge col­lapse in Min­nesota. Gib­son said that the col­lapse raised the age old ques­tion, “Are the events of life planned out or are they sim­ply the re­sult of ran­dom chance?”

Gib­son was ask­ing whether peo­ple were fated to be on the bridge, or whether it was sim­ply bad luck. Only God knows for sure, but there are some gen­eral truths worth re­mem­ber­ing.

First, the bridge col­lapse it­self was not the re­sult of fate or a ran­dom chance. The bridge col­lapse was due to poor judg­ment. Had the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in Min­nesota heeded the warn­ings and fixed the bridge, the tragedy would have been averted.

Their re­luc­tance to make the hard choices came back to hurt the whole com­mu­nity. To a large ex­tent, we shape our lives by the choices we make. God gave hu­man­ity the gift of freewill. Is it God’s fault that we have not al­ways made good choices?

Sec­ond, de­spite ru­mors to the con­trary, God was present in Min­nesota on Aug. 1. The tragedy could have been much, much worse. Did you see the pic­ture of the school bus on the bridge? It was full of kids and could eas­ily have gone into the river. It didn’t. On the bus a young coun­selor cleared the back door and rushed the kids to safety. The school bus sur­vival could be the hand of God, keep­ing a bad sit­u­a­tion from be­com­ing much worse. God was present mit­i­gat­ing the tragedy and giv­ing strength and com­fort to fam­i­lies.

Third, life does not end with death of the body. Je­sus said one time that the com­mon Old Tes­ta­ment phrase, “the God of Abra­ham, the God of Isaac, the God of Ja­cob” meant that all th­ese peo­ple, even though dead to us, were still alive to God — that Abra­ham, Isaac, and Ja­cob still lived in the King­dom of God.

The Apos­tle Paul wrote, “I am per­suaded that nei­ther death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other cre­ated thing shall be able to sep­a­rate us from the love of God which is in Christ Je­sus our Lord.”

Trag­i­cally, for many peo­ple their earthly jour­ney ended Aug. 1. But the hope is that this is but one leg of the jour­ney and that all that has hap­pened is that they have preced- ed us to the King­dom of God, a place where there will be “no more death, sor­row or cry­ing.”

John Donaldson

Colum­nist

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