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2004-04-09 15:14:26 (UTC)

Bargaining with God, Statistics and Faith

I have several friends who have people they love serving in
Iraq. These last few days have been especially tough on
them. I think about and pray for them and their families
every day.

When Steven was in Vietnam I prayed for him every day. I
prayed he would come home to me. I tried to bargain with
God. It's what people do when they don't have any control
over the outcome.

And if faith in God isn't enough, one can try to find
comfort in statistics. John said that when he was in the
Army he was told that the chances of someone dying in
Vietnam were smaller than the chance he'd die in a car
accident if he stayed in the United States. That's true.
Three million men served during the years of the Vietnam
War. Fewer than 55,000 died in that war. And of those who
died, fewer than 20,000 were married. That's true too. But
statistics can be a cold comfort. Less than 20,000 seems a
small proportion of the total. But it only needs to be one
if that one is you.

When Hugh was born with a congenital heart defect, the
doctors told us that 1 in 1,000 babies are born with a heart
defect. Only 1 out of 10,000 babies are born with the same
condition as Hugh. So when they told us that he had a 97%
chance of surviving the operation they proposed to do,
suddenly those odds didn't seem that good anymore. I
couldn't focus on the 97%; I focused on the 3%. He survived
and did well but I don't buy lottery tickets.

When Steven and my daughter died I lost my faith in God.
What kind of loving, compassionate God would allow my
husband and then my child to die and leave me with nothing?

Today is Good Friday. Jesus asked from the cross "My God,
my God, why have you forsaken me?" Later he said "Father,
into your hands I commend my spirit." Nothing can separate
us from the love of God but faith was not and is not to be
had cheaply.

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