Statistically speaking, you should not exist.
Think about it for a moment. How unlikely was it that your parents ever met? And even when they came together, you were just a bad mood or argument or headache or television show or phone call away from never being conceived.
Take a generational step back, and ponder your grandparents’ stories. What were the twists and turns and near misses in their experiences and relationships — any of which, had there been even a minor change, would have resulted in your non-being?
Then keep going back further and further into your ancestral history, and consider the millions and millions of converging conversations and glances and illnesses and unexpected vocational changes and books and storms and dreams and religious choices and travels and schools and wars and ambitions and sorrows over the centuries that, had they been altered just slightly, would not only have resulted in your not being born, but in the world’s population being very different.
The more you think about your unlikely existence and what had to take place in order for you to be sitting here reading these words, the more you’ll realize that your story is wilder than anything humans have imagined. It adds a whole new level of breathless awe to the thought that God “commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). The reality behind that simple statement is incomprehensibly complex.
“You only need to stop long enough to think. There is so much divine glory to see in your truly extraordinary story.”
What this means is that nothing that happens to you today is, in fact, ordinary or insignificant. Every small and great thing you encounter or do has millions of stories behind its existence or occurrence, and if you could trace them back they would keep you enthralled for weeks.
And your extraordinary life is continually shaping, and being shaped by, many other lives, human and non-human, as you move through time. In ways both witting and unwitting, your words and actions are influencing the course of other lives. Your choice of a parking spot or your seat on a plane could have a life-altering affect on someone else. Your choice of church, school, and workplace certainly will.
Do not let a belief in the sovereignty of God dull your amazement over this — as if everything just happens like a machine. Let his sovereignty multiply, not subtract from, your wonder. Just think of how God designed his creation to occur!
Fifteen million birch tree seeds in a season might produce a tree or two. A few hundred ova and a few billion sperm might produce a few children over the course of a marriage. Some 200 billion galaxies and more than 70 sextillion stars might produce a planet that sustains life, not to mention incomprehensively complex, marvelous, conscious beings who can contemplate the glory of such improbabilities.
Some look at such phenomena in creation and see meaningless randomness and natural selection. What do you see? Do you see the staggering glory of divine selection (election) out of all the contingencies and possibilities? This is the world that the God who spoke all things into existence brought into being when he said, “Let there be . . .” And all that glory before we even get to the most glorious story: Christ’s redemption of sinners. The height and depth and length and breadth of the wonder infinitely expands.
You are a tiny but extraordinary creature living in a universe that is filled with trillions, septillions, bazillions of creations, some incomprehensibly huge and others inconceivably small. And the existence of each one, just like you, so unlikely, so improbable as to be miracles, is meant to cause each of us to exclaim in worship,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
You only need to stop long enough to think. There is so much divine glory to see in your truly extraordinary story.