Science is Christian…when, in the infinitely little, it discovers as many mysteries and as much depth and power as in the infinitely great.
- Edgar Quinet
Today I read the most incredible story. It comes from the Daily Express, a newspaper in the UK. And it concerns a British soldier, deployed in Afghanistan. The newspaper called what happened to him a coincidence. But it seems to me that something more was at work…
Nineteen-year-old Glenn Hockton was stationed in the Helmand province of southwestern Afghanistan. The province is one of the most dangerous places in the country—notorious producing the world’s largest supply of opium and for being one of the last Taliban strongholds.
One day, Glenn was on patrol when he felt the rosary beads he wore around his neck slip off. He tried to catch them, but they fell to the dusty ground. He bent down and reached to grab them. At that moment, he saw an object loosely covered with dirt, embedded in the ground at his feet.
A land mine.
Glenn did as he was trained. He didn’t move. He called for help. For 45 minutes, he stayed still until his fellow soldiers were able to defuse the explosive.
Was it a coincidence the beads slipped from his neck at that moment, in that place? Maybe.
But there’s more...
Glenn was not a religious man. He brought the beads to Afghanistan because of a story his mother had told him, about his great-grandfather.
His great-grandfather, Sunny, fought in World War II. He was held as a POW by the Nazis, and forced to march away from the advancing Allied forces. While marching, he caught sight of something on the ground in front of him. He stopped walking, and bent over to pick it up.
Just then, a shell exploded in front of Sunny, missing him by a hair.
The object he stopped to pick up? A rosary.
Glenn and Sunny, both saved in wartime, both saved the same way? Now that’s more than coincidence.
Not all of us have stories as dramatic as Glenn's, but many of us have experienced moments that are too incredible to be only "coincidence." In next week's blog, I'll share a few stories from my own family. Please keep sending me your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.