Recently, while taking a drive down a divided highway north of Mexico City, I had a very close call. A driver traveling in the opposite direction lost control of his vehicle, perhaps losing a wheel and came across the median. There was no time to react. To avoid the imminent head-on collision, the driver swerved back into the deep median at the very last second, rolling his vehicle and losing his life. The scene was gruesome, disturbing and sobering.
Upon sharing this story with a friend they remarked that "God must have been looking out for you". Given our shared Christian background and their incorrect assumption that I still maintained this belief, their statement was not offensive and went unchallenged, at least verbally; though internally it has forced me into much introspection and analysis.
So was God looking out for me? Perhaps. But what about the other guy? Christian apologists would respond that this was just God's plan; however this does not provide a satisfactory answer to the situation. Even as an energetic young evangelist of Christ, I always was uncomfortable giving these types of answers. I had no direct communication with God, so who was I to venture a claim on his behalf? What access do people think they have that allow them to speak to the intentions of the creator of the universe, to claim all good as proof of divine benevolence and hide all bad in the obscurity of a mysterious plan?
The man in the other vehicle may have swerved to avoid bringing another soul into his desperate situation. A final act of selflessness, knowing that without a seat belt he would be dead either way. If this were the case, he should be recognized for his gallantry, his goodness, instead of giving credit to God for extending my existence until the next unexplainable mishap.
This world is one of uncertainties and unsettling ambiguities but also one of amazing possibilities and limitless potential. It brings me no feeling of consolation when the unexplainable is explained by vacuous supernatural plans. The fact that things are sometimes unknowable only inspires me to keep challenging myself to expand my understanding. To reach for knowledge and truth. To find happiness and bring happiness. To try and experience the world as it really is with every moment no matter how fleeting.