A magpie is a black and white bird. In Australia during spring and their mating season, magpies are very protective of their trees. If you casually walk past the tree within 100m (300ft) they swoop you with their sharpened beaks. The only defence is staring at them or drawing a face on the back of your hat/ helmet.
So one year a magpie took up mating residence in a tree just near a tunnel that we would walk through to get to school. One day we were casually walking to school and my brother started running. Then my sister started running. So I started running. I heard the wings, and then I felt the wings, and I also felt a searing pain near my eye. It swooped again and again. My abject terror made me run faster than I could usually run and when I got to school I was bleeding and crying everywhere.
Now, presupposing that God is good, that God made the world, and that God loves me.. I’m wondering…
Was the magpie attack supposed to teach me something that would allow me to avoid evil in a different, much worse circumstance?
Was the magpie attack just a choice of mine. I could have walked a different way. I could’ve carried a stick that day. My father could have given me a gun for my 3rd birthday. Was my brother supposed to be attacked, and by his choices the bird then aimed for me?
Was the magpie attack random? Birds are given defaults, instincts. It could have been anyone who got attacked, but it ended up being me.
AND THEN… what of my reactions to the attack?
I grew up in a rather non-violent family. So my initial reaction was flight. Flight and fear. I then would get shivers down my spine anytime I saw a black and white bird or heard one flying. I hated that tunnel for years. But I could have reacted a lot different to that. I could have given the blame to humans. My school teachers were stupid. Why did they have a tree there. Why didn’t they take care of it? And then I could not have trusted them ever again. I could have blamed my parents, my brother, the state etc and distrust would have crept in and who knows where that pain could’ve ended up?
I could’ve started hunting every bird. Or the opposite feared every bird, even eating chicken. Or maybe my fear could have kept me away from school altogether.
But I didn’t. I got over my fear. I finished school. I still trust my parents and I love my brother. But is that because of how my parents raised me? and how they raised them? and so on and so on.
Did God put us in the families he needed to put us in so that we would react in certain ways to see his will be done?
AND if that is the case, are our free will choices only outside of that will when we purposely break our natural training, or, in the midst of unexpected trauma?
E.G if one kid was born into a family of violent physical abusers… and he chose to not abuse but to comfort? and the opposite, what if a comforted, in a one-off curiosity for the darker things, destroyed someone’s car? Or stabbed a mouse and got a rush that ended in something bigger, affecting more people? Does that then snowball to larger trauma like mass killings or years of abuse?
Which, then, does God give us grace to respond to those horrific events in certain ways to then comfort others? So… we have choice… but God also knows what we “would” do depending on ou circumstances. So… if he knows all the “woulds” all the “coulds” and all the “definitely will nots”. and he responds in relationship to our pleas and our needs?
Then the magpie attack could have been from God to teach me something. Or it could have been from choice. Or it could have been random instinct put in motion by a combination of God and human city planning?