Thursday, February 8, 2018

Convenient Coincidences

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom started his talk, Has the Day of Miracles Ceased?, with a story of a series of miracles. A man named Clark fell off a cliff, falling 40 feet and then tumbling uncontrollably for another 300. Luckily, he survived, and his luck didn't end there. There just "happened" to be a group of mountain rescue guides and emergency medical professionals hiking nearby, and they just "happened" to new communication device that could work in areas where one couldn't get a cell signal. Thanks to their timely help, Clark held onto life long enough to be rushed to a trauma center. There, he was treated by a renowned neurotrauma surgeon who just "happened" to be on duty that day, despite only being at that hospital a few days a year. Despite Clark's many serious injuries, the surgeon was able to save him, and he was even expected to make a full recovery. The surgeon, a self-described agnostic, said that Clark's case could only be described as a miracle.

Others might disagree. After all, it's possible that these miracles could have been a series of convenient coincidences. There's no way to prove that God had a hand in it all.Yes, it's improbable for things to have worked out so well for Clark after his fall, but it's not impossible. It could have been that Clark just got very, very lucky.

I think there's a reason for that. I think that part of the reason God rarely does things that are truly impossible is so there will always be some room for faith or doubt. In order to see this experience as a miracle, one has to believe in the possibility of miracles at least as much as they believe in the possibility of convenient coincidences. God requires our faith, and He rarely, if ever, offers solid proof of His existence and power in return. Even those who believe in God could hear this story and admit that it's possible that Clark just got very, very lucky.

Naturally, that's not the way Clark and his family saw it. They knew in their hearts that they had experienced a miracle, and that's what they told Elder Hallstrom when he had come to visit them. They had the faith to see their experience as a series of miracles rather than as a series of convenient coincidences.

No comments: