For those of profound religious passion, faith in a caring, loving and compassionate God can offer solace for the soul as well as benevolence for the body.
This belief in a kindly God can engender inner peace, contentment and tranquillity, especially in times of heartache, anxiety or stress.
Yet, for others denying the relevance of grand divinity, there is often an intangible, if not inexplicable conviction that the proverb: “There but for the grace of God go I” is spiritually cheerful, appreciating good fortune in their lives when others are so sadly less fortunate.
Their response may sometimes be perceived as humble homage to crises beyond their control, an acknowledgement that perhaps some invisible deity is indeed watching out for their welfare.
The devout might denounce these people as hypocrites, decrying religious favour on the one hand only to applaud their lucky lives on the other. Ideas of fate dismissed as fallacies of the faithful.
The news regularly reports traumatic and tragic stories such as the recent, unexpected deaths of four police officers as well as those suffering potentially fatal diseases, unemployment, homelessness, mental illness or family violence, among other things. Moreover, as COVID-19 currently exacts pain and sorrow on hundreds of thousands of people around the world, those safe and healthy may reflect on their destiny with joyous smiles.
Enjoying physical and psychological wellness, complemented by stable economics, these people still face an uncertain and unknown future, mitigating risk the name of the game.
In this reality, many are reluctant to take their good health and prosperity for granted, instead feeling privileged by the grace of God, despite their irreverence. Life itself seems irrefutably relative.
Recognising human vulnerability and an inability to control all things, they can be grateful for being alive and thriving without apparent rhyme or reason, thanking God seemingly the only sane and sensible wisdom.
Surprisingly, the origin of the proverbial parlance is not enshrined in the bible, first published in a treatise on prayer by Edward Bickersteth in 1822 and attributed to English, 16th century evangelical preacher, John Bradford. Theologically, Corinthians 15:8-10 does allude to the sentiment stating: “Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me”.
However, a concept of divine grace is referenced in the Old Testament, evoking virtue and strength to resist temptation, with Hebrews 4:16 recording: “Let us…find grace to help us in our time of need.”
For today and tomorrow, faith in divine grace could just create reassurance and comfort for us all.