By Submitted Article on January 18, 2020.
First of three parts
Jacob M. Van Zyl
In the old movie “A Wonderful life,” George Bailey considers suicide because of severe financial trouble. He wishes he was never born. An angel shows him how many good chain reactions would not have happened if he were not born.
He would not have saved his little brother from icy water; therefore, this brother would not have become a pilot in the Second World War and saved a ship full of soldiers from enemy attack.
After several such episodes, replayed as if George was not born, he realizes the value of his life. He’d never thought he had such a positive influence on so many people. In desperation, he prays, “Let me live again!”
The Creator made a universe teeming with related things and interactive processes, networks of chain reactions whose origins, paths and destinies the human mind can’t fully comprehend.
A tiny sperm fertilizes an ovum; a child is born; under parental care the child grows; through the senses, memory and insight, the child learns; the child becomes an adult with a career, serving and influencing many lives; every positive contact starts another chain reaction, affecting many other lives; and so zillions of chain reactions shoot out from one baby like rays from the sun.
Because the Hebrew population in Egypt increased too fast, an evil king ordered that all Hebrew male newborns be thrown into the Nile. One mother put her baby in a basket on the river. The princess found it, adopted it and called him Moses.
The compassion of Moses’ biological and adopted mothers started a chain reaction that is still at work today, 3.5 millennia later. God inspired Moses to lead the Hebrew slaves out of bondage and to forge a religion for them that is still active.
The nation and religion shaped by Moses eventually spawned the Christian faith which is still inspired by the books of the Old Testament.
The message of the Bible is carried to all people around the globe in the form of books, mass media and social media. Every Christian seed sown starts a chain reaction of life-saving information.
You see a young person who looks unhappy. You exchange a few words. She mentions in half-sentences that nobody cares about her. Unknown to you, she’s pondering suicide.
You show that you care by listening without preaching. You share some of your experiences when you felt the same. You add that you began to feel better when you started to focus on giving rather than receiving.
You leave her with a prayer in your heart, not sure if you were helpful.
The girl postpones suicide. She starts helping peers in the same situation. She completes school and signs up for training as a nurse, impacting many lives.
Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.