contingency

Our seminary family is pleading with God for the life of Kawika Hughes, a baby born last week to our student, Keoni, and his wife Andrea. Kawika was taken five weeks early because he came down with the enterovirus. Last Tuesday doctors were giving him no chance of survival, but by Wednesday afternoon his kidney had begun to function and they were saying his odds had improved to 20-30%. His liver and kidneys still have a long way to go, and he continues to have bleeding on his brain, so please pray with us for him and Keoni and Andrea as they bravely endure every parent’s nightmare.

Besides the sheer tragedy of potentially losing a child, one aspect that makes it worse is the contingency of it all. What are the odds that this child would contract the enterovirus? Millions of children don’t. There are many more plausible scenarios in which Kawika is born perfectly healthy than scenarios in which he isn’t. And yet here he is.

Evil is tragic in part because it could have been so easily missed. The oncoming driver didn’t have to be texting, applying makeup, and yelling towards the backseat as she came toward you. But she was. She swerved and almost missed. An inch or two more, and you would be shaken but without a scratch. But here you are, with years of surgeries and therapy ahead. Your life will never be the same.

I am helped with the contingency of evil when I remember the larger contingency of life. Yes, it didn’t have to be my car that was sideswiped or my child that is sick, but it also didn’t need to be my life that Jesus saved. God wasn’t logically required to create this world. He chose to. God wasn’t logically required to redeem this world. He chose to.

Whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian, you must concede that whatever happens goes all the way back to God’s will. God may have directly decreed it, or decreed to allow it, but ultimately the buck stops with him. Because it is God’s will, it is contingent. It didn’t have to be this way. This is true for the really bad stuff, and it’s also true for God’s decision to bless us with all good things.

Whatever happens is contingent upon the will of God. This God has chosen to incorporate our prayers in his sovereign rule of the universe. So I’m praying for Kawika. Won’t you join me?

Update:  you can follow Kawika’s status by clicking on his name above. The latest news is grim. Please remember this dear family.

5 Comments

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  1. How are you defining contingent in this context? I posted your article to our church’s fbook page and receive several questions…which I must now answer. A sample question is:

    I’m confused about this statement made, “Because it is God’s will, it is contingent. It didn’t have to be this way.” I would expect it to say, because it is God will, it has to be this way. Am I missing something?

    Do you define contingent as: dependent upon?

  2. Betsy:

    The confusion arises from two kinds of necessity, absolute and consequent. Absolute necessity is a necessity that is inherent in the thing itself. It has to be this way. For example, the law of non-contradiction. Consequent necessity is a necessity that follows from a prior cause. For example, God wasn’t absolutely required to save the world, but having chosen to, it was consequently necessary that he sacrifice his Son to do it. So in the piece I’m referring to absolute necessity, while the readers are thinking consequent necessity. This philosophical explanation is why I didn’t try to explain it in the piece!🙂
    My point is that it can be frightening to live in a world where bad events that didn’t have to occur still do (because God has willed them). I am comforted when I remember that there are larger, better, and more significant events that didn’t have to occur, yet still do, because God has willed them. All is not lost, even when I blow it.

  3. Mike, I’ve prayed this evening for this precious little image bearer and his family

  4. Keoni is literally one of the kindest souls I have met in seminary. As my wife and I pray for his family, the only thing that gives me peace is that God is sovereign. Yes, I want a miracle, but I know our Father has a plan, and He’s not required to share it with us. This is one of your best blogs in a while, Doc. I am in Kawika’s corner! Sending love and prayer!

  5. Thanks, Chris. I knew you would.

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