Most of you have seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” More on that in a moment. But for now, the word “wonderful” is most commonly understood by most people simply to mean “really great.” But the word “wonderful” actually means “filled with wonder.”
Who of us can understand the incredible mystery of our own life? And not merely considered in itself, but also how it interacts with the lives of others and the events of this world? Why are we here now? Why do we meet and know the people we do? How does our life affect others, not just in the obvious ways but also the hidden ways unknown to us?
Imagine that one day you stayed late at work one day rather than take the commuter bus. Your open seat caused two people to meet who later married, had three children, one of whom will discover the cure for cancer. This is something you will never know, but God does. Maybe another day you drove a little slower than the driver in back of you wished, but your slower pace meant that your irritated tailgater was not in an intersection at just the moment he would have been killed in a horrible accident had he kept his pace. I know you may think these to be trivial examples but consider the mystery of each moment and all the “alternate universes” that would result if even a small change took place in our actions!
Our lives are mysteriously intertwined. We have almost no idea how even the little things we do cause enormous ripples and chain reactions that affect dozens, hundreds or thousands of people from moment to moment. What if I never wrote this post and you never read it but instead were reading something else right now, (good, or bad). The possibilities are almost endless as to what might happen had I not written and you not read.
God has us here in this place at this time for a reason. We have some very particular purposes in his plan and he alone knows them all. Try for a moment to appreciate your dignity in this regard. You have a critical role in a cascade of events that ripple from your life and your place in God’s plan. No one can take that place and your role is critical to millions of subsequent transactions in God’s wonderful vision. Psalm 139 has this to say:
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. All my days were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Selected verses).
The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is an extended meditation on this topic and if, for some strange reason, you have not seen it then you know what you must do! The protagonist of the movie “George” seeks to end his life and wishes he had never been born but an angel from heaven takes him through the strange and sad “alternate universe” that would result had he never been here. It is a world of terrifying loss for many and George comes to discover the dignity and necessity of his life in God’s plan.
In God’s vision no one can be said to be unnecessary or of limited importance. We have absolutely no way of knowing that and given the intricacies of human interaction and the ripple effects thereof we are pretty foolish for thinking we have little importance. Rather, it seems we are quite essential.
Enjoy this summary of the Movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and remember that “wonderful” means “filled with wonder (and awe).”