I know that I am going to upset some people. My friend K. is already unhappy with me about this blog. However, my blog is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings at any given time, and this is the time to write about “God was watching over me!”.
Being a cynic, I always had an issue with people telling stories about facing some possible catastrophe and ending their stories with “but God was watching over me”.
Take for example the story of one of my interns who came to supervision all shaken up because she was in an accident that left three people critically wounded, one of them a teenager, while she got out of it unscathed.
Knowing that she is religious, I was not surprised when she ended her story by saying “I guess God was watching over me”. What I did not say was, “J, why did God fail to watch over the other three people who were critically wounded—is he capable of watching over one person at a time?” But of course I did not say that, because I was told too many times that religion and politics are not a good subject matter for civilized discussion.
Sometimes there’s a feeling of gratitude, and it needs to be expressed and directed towards some object or being. God is a good object. And just in case you are wondering, I am an atheist.
But let’s take it a step further, to the place that is a sacred ground to most Jews – the Holocaust. So many stories about being saved, about being spared, about escaping, and some unbelievable miracles etc. Some survivors say that they were simply lucky, they stopped believing in a God a long time ago, in the face of losing all members of their family, and yet others explain their survival by saying that God was watching over them. This one is illogical. God was watching over you, the survivor, but was too preoccupied to take care of the other six million? What was he doing, playing chess? And then you have the people who would say that we should not try to explain God’s work, because his ways (her ways?) are mysterious. If it is so, then why are those people the ones who claim to be saved by him? Please make up your mind. You either cannot explain his mysterious actions, and therefore you cannot say that he watched over you, or he did! Which leads me to believe that he does not do such a great job with a lot of other people, like the Sudanese, for instance.
So when you tell me a story and you want to say that there are no accidents in life (yes, there are!) and that God was watching over you, please be aware of the fact that you are also saying that he was not watching the other three in the other car, who faced calamity. You are implying a process of selection! You, who survived the accident, you were worthy of God’s attention, as opposed to the other thousands who die every day, whether it is on the freeway, in terrorists attacks, hurricanes and more, which is all a part of a great design apparently, which we mortals just don’t have the capacity to understand. But you, you deserved to stay alive, so let’s praise his name. Hallelujah!