Last week, I told the story of the couple whose daughter attempted suicide. When the doctor pronounced the daughter dead at the hospital, the mother asked if she could just hold her daughter. As she held the teenage girl in her arms, the daughter’s heart began to beat again. Not one of the medical staff had ever seen anything like it.
I repeat that story because last week I addressed the whole problem of evil. How does a good God allow bad things to happen? This week I want to address the “problem” of goodness.
Someone wisely said that the believer has to deal with the existence of evil. However, the non-believer has to deal with the existence of everything else. We consider it a miracle when we get an extension of life. Yet, is not life itself a miracle? (Ironically, a holy priest from India once said, “In your Western culture, it is considered a miracle when God does man’s will. In our culture, it is considered a miracle when man does God’s will.)
For those who have studied philosophy, the earliest philosophers that we know of questioned what the world was made of. Various philosophers thought the world was made of fire, water, air or earth. With their philosophical minds, they tried to determine what in the world the world was made of. Ironically, no one until the last century seemed to ask why there was anything at all! Why was there a world? Why was there a universe? Why did existence exist?
When I was a little boy, I remember every check-out counter had pictures of children in “iron lungs.” These were children afflicted with polio. Everyone prayed that someone would find a cure for polio. Then the world would be ecstatically happy. Eventually, Dr. Jonas Salk came up with a vaccine to prevent polio. But the world still wasn’t deliriously happy. We kept right on fighting wars, complaining about life and having other diseases like cancer and AIDS. Each miracle is taken for granted, and we find some other reason to be unhappy.
Have we ever considered that life itself is a miracle? Scientists speculate that our earth is about 14 billion years old. The whole universe is even older. And how many universes are there?
Scientists further speculate that the for human life to be possible on earth it had to be just the right distance from the sun, not too close or too far, lest earth be too hot or too cold. There had to be just the right atmosphere so that creatures like us could exist. And without the six inches of topsoil, none of our crops would be able to grow. And we could go on and on.
But I want to stop and just proclaim life a miracle. I’ve shared stories of the strokes in my eyes, and my blood clots in my lungs. Yet, I can still see, and I’m still alive. I know my ability to function is a miracle.
But I’m pushing for something deeper. I’m pushing for the truth that the “Life Force” that spun us into existence is more than a coincidence of a billion different factors. I’m pushing for the fact that the universe exists because it was created by love, by God. Love beats our hearts. Love sees through our eyes. When we reach out to help and comfort and hold each other, it is God reaching out and helping and comforting and holding us. Nothing less than God can explain the existence of existence. And nothing less than love can explain why God would want any of us around.
And here’s an even greater piece. The love that called us into existence couldn’t bear the thought that any of us would ever cease to exist. A hundred billion years from now there will be no memory of our names or deeds.
As flesh and blood creatures on this planet we will have long ceased to exist. But a hundred billion years from now, you and I will still be alive and well in the heart of God, in the heart of love. That’s a miracle worth celebrating each moment of each day. It’s all a gift. It’s all a miracle. Enjoy each moment with God.