Most of us have witnessed miracles and answered prayers at some point in our life. I certainly have had my share of them… from sitting with empty cupboards around a table with several hungry foster children to feed, offering up a prayer of supplication to God, and having the telephone ring, just as the Amen is said, and being told that the local supermarket just had a freezer of frozen dinners and desserts go out and could we come and fill our car with them… or on another similar occasion, the local police calling to say a vegetable truck had overturned on the highway and could we come and take what we wanted before they allowed the public in.
Of course there was the renegade helicopter pilot who just happened to appear moments before our squad was overrun by North Vietnamese soldiers. Against orders he rescued me and another wounded Marine… even as we were praying what we thought would be our last prayer. The survival of the helicopter crash moments later was another Miracle, as was my survival of an automobile accident a few years later that demolished my car and left one person dead.
Money coming in at just the right time, strangers appearing out of nowhere during a time of crisis to offer needed support, or wrong turns that bring you right to where you need to be… these are all experiences most of us have had, and it would be only fitting that we give God the credit for these apparent Miracles… if, of course, these things only happened to God fearing people. The problem is that they happen to everyone, regardless of faith or religion, or lack of it and therefore, either God treats everyone the same regardless of their beliefs, or there is some other explanation for this phenomenon.
Once as a child I found a four-leaf Clover and hoped that my good luck would bring me riches. A few steps further down the path I found a five-dollar bill lying on the ground. I wasn’t praying at the time and in fact was hoping God didn’t see what had just happened… because I knew he would make me look for the owner. It happened only once… but I still on occasion look for four-leaf Clovers.
I remember a time with Indian students in a BIA boarding school. We met every morning for prayer meetings with 10 or more students and started a 5 most wanted list of hardcore students to pray for. Almost every week many of those on the list would come to one or more of the evangelism meeting without being asked and without knowledge that they were on the prayer list. Of course I gave, the God I knew at the time, the credit for this miracle… because I had not yet been introduced to Buddha, Allah, or the Universe. Today I realize that I could do the same thing with a small group of people of any religion, including nonbelievers, and have the same results… because I now understand that when ever two or three people come together, and are in agreement on a cause, the strength of their combined energies in the Universe makes, what may seem to be impossible at first, materialize.
It would be nice to believe that there was some big guy up there in the sky, manipulating our surroundings so that we could live without worry or fear… but everyone knows that’s not how it goes… and sooner or later we must accept the fact that we are just as vulnerable to tragedy as we are to miracles. This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons to learn in a godless Life, for it leaves us without a rudder and takes away our anchor as well.
I cannot explain the phenomenon of the Miracles in my Life any more than I can explain the tragedies I have witnessed… for both appear to be well designed when replaying the events leading up to them. Creating a God entity to be responsible for these occurrences however, seems to me a bit like creating a Santa Claus to explain the sudden appearance of gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve, or creating a demon to blame for our naughty behavior. Perhaps it is our interconnectedness with all that has Life that explains why some things appear to be orchestrated… for although we perceive ourselves as individual beings, we are in fact joined at the Soul with the Life that surrounds us and therefore working collectively at creating the events of each and every moment. Realizing this connection I believe is the key to understanding Life in a godless world.