This is a true story about D-Day, June 6, 1944. It happened on Omaha Beach. Karl, the German corporal I heard say these words in a BBC documentary recently, was speaking of himself and of one of the enemy, the American soldiers who had just landed on the Normandy shore. It seems that both survived the Omaha massacre in which the Germans were decimated and the Americans lost 90% of their troops. After the war, Karl somehow met Jimmy, one of the rare G.I. survivors. They became friends and discovered that they had both prayed during the assault. It would seem that, for once, both their prayers were answered.
There is, of course, another take on this. You and I know they were just damned lucky, though both veterans are convinced it was far more than luck. God, they say, heard their prayers and saved their lives. In their minds, their survival is proof. Cause and effect. It would be unkind to ask Karl and Jimmy what they thought about all the others who prayed – and stayed, right there on the beach or in the bunkers with a bullet in their heart or their head blown off. But if it were possible to dialogue with these two survivors, firm in their shared faith that God chose to protect them and not so many others, one could question the criteria for His selectivity. (Please don’t give me the “mysterious ways” bit or dare say it to the families who still mourn the death of a loved one). The very question implies another : were they begging a figment of their imagination to save them ? They swear God protected them. So He exists. Q.E.D.