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May 24th, 2010
05:33 PM ET

'God must have something specific in mind for me'

From CNN's Sara Sidner in Mangalore, India: It’s puzzling how we human beings can fight so fiercely over our differences, but when it boils down to it we are all so similar. No matter what religion we believe in or don’t believe in, it never escapes me that in life’s most extreme circumstances our differences suddenly fade away and what is left are the simple human traits we all share.

It struck me again when I spoke with a bright young lady from Bangladesh who was about to become a doctor. I was chatting with her as she lay in a hospital bed recounting how she had survived the Air India plane crash that left all but eight people dead. Sabrina was flying alone, preparing to finish her last medical school internship in Mangalore.

When she finally talked to her mom after pulling her badly injured body away from the wreckage, she said, “I must be really lucky and God must have something specific in mind for me later on."

"Otherwise”, she said, “I could have just said, 'You know, I am too tired to get out of this seat.' Especially since my leg was stuck as well. But I just got out because I knew that I have more things to do than sit here. I have better things to do in life.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard similar statements from people of different religious backgrounds than Sabrina, who happens to be Muslim, after a near-death experience.

Even those who are not religious at all talk of fate and perhaps a plan they are unaware of that they must fulfill. In Sabrina’s case her calling seems clear. She wants to heal people. She is now more determined to than ever to do just that. Knowing what it is like to be a patient with multiple injuries gives her new insight into life on the other side of the stethoscope.

She also knows from studying medicine that once you are inside the body, the truth about human beings is revealed. No matter how different we think we are, inside we are all made up of the exact same exact material.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Lou

    I prefer the part of the article that claims we are really all the same. We spend so much time discussing our differences, ethnic, political, religious, etc., that many of us do not seem to realize our similarities. We are all the same inside. Looks, what we choose to wear, and many other choices we make are superficial and temporary. Much of what we determine to be important in life, (our houses, cars, clothes, status, etc.), perhaps are only illusions we have created in our pursuit of happiness. These things provide superficial temporary happiness at best. Only the spiritual part of us lives on. So, even death, as we know it, is perhaps only death of the superficial and physical aspects of life, but there is a part of us, (Christians refer to it as the soul), that lives on. There is even scientific evidence that the 'stuff of life' does not die. The stars, planets and all elements that make up this universe, including us, are all made up of the same scientific stuff. Although I'm no religious or scientific expert, all the evidence in my life points to the fact that, on the deeper levels, we are really all the same.

    May 26, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  2. Joel3

    @ Jessica – God has a plan for everyone, the problem is most people choose to follow their own plan which thows His plans off. If you believe and completely surrender your life to Him, His plan will be revealed and leave YOU in awe. No, this does not happen overnight, God works on His own schedule, not yours. This is where PATIENCE comes in.

    May 26, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  3. Jessica

    So, help me understand. If God had a plan for some, and for others he deemed their work on earth done – and he's now calling them home, does that suggest that EVERYONE gets into heaven? Otherwise, did he only call those home that believe in him – and the rest, well they just died cause of the accident? I dont quite grasp how we divide this out...determine how God's plan involves those not going to heaven.

    May 26, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  4. jephman

    I do believe in God and have spent plenty of time reading the Bible from cover to cover at times during my life. I can not buy into an appointed time that God has set for us. My grandmother died last Dec at the age of 103. The last 10 years of her life were not that enjoyable. The only purpose she had was to not die. She did love God and my family was grateful to have her in our lives for so long. If we believe we have a set time on earth, then why would we be so against abortion? Wouldn't the mother of the child just be doing the will of God? Wouldn't all murderers be doing the same? So why are murderers prosecuted and incarcerated? Maybe God has another " plan" for the murderer when some one else's time has come.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  5. CocoValet

    Who are we as humans to question God??? Does a vase say to the potter 'why did you but roses in that vase but gave me thorns'... All things work to the Glory of God even if we don't understand it... An finite mind cannot search the infinite mind...

    May 25, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • Sgstuck

      Who is your God to question you or I? Just because there is a seemingly infinite amount of information that we do not yet know doesn't mean we shouldn't try to grow our knowledge base.

      Chalking it up to "I don't know, must have been God who did it" doesn't solve anything and it simply retards the progress of our species.

      May 25, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • CocoValet

      Sgstuck, I'm not say don't investigate the plane crash... I'm saying we don't need to question God about His decisions...
      As for the "progress of our species" morally it's circling the drain... It seem, these days, that wrong is right and right is wrong...

      May 25, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Keith

      If God expects my adoration, devotion, and obedience, I have every right to demand that he at least drop a hint to me that he's there and that I'm not being deceived by stories in an old book and coincidents like a few people walking away from a fiery crash due to the construction of the plane. I think the story gives just as much evidence that she should be praising to the Boeing or Airbus as to God.

      May 25, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • Jessica

      So if a terrorist blows up a plan, is he just following Gods plan?

      May 26, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  6. Talon6

    This type of thing has always seemed really stupid to me. I agree with riverrunner. I guess God hated all the people that died on the plane. But those eight people were "special". Ha ha, yeah right. Whatever. Get a brain people. It's all random.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:07 am |
    • Hughes

      God is indistinguishable from randomness which is why you can never find any evidence of god's existence.

      Praise randomness!

      May 26, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  7. Michael Wong

    "God has a PLAN" – Christianity's oldest excuse for anything it can't explain. Of course, this excuse would be a lot more intriguing if you could actually explain what that plan is, but of course, you can't. It's beyond our comprehension, right? You know JUST enough about it to be absolutely certain that it exists and that it's totally fair, right?

    May 25, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  8. Sam

    We all have to leave some day. Soon or later the day will approach. As for this lady, God wanted to remind her and everyone else that our life is short. He extended her life to fulfill His purpose in her life. Her salvation.

    May 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  9. Roland

    Babies get and children die in crashes, so what exactly had God in mind ? When will peoples start growing up and stop believing this religion nonsense and face reality. Life on earth is hell and only us can make it better. By the way witch God are we talking about, christian, Muslim , Hindu or however? We kill everyday hundreds of innocent peoples in wars and slaughter millions of innocent animals and God does nothing to stop us or help them. Go and visit a slaughter house and tell me after what Gods Plan would be. Peoples grow up.

    May 24, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  10. Bagheera

    God, in His providence, did indeed spare the life of this woman for reasons only He knows. God, in his providence, also allowed the deaths of all the others for reasons only He knows.

    What we can know is that everything God does is just and right, and no man can put Him in the Dock.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • SgStuck

      So what I've learned from this discussion is that God has a plan that consists of exactly what happened and we find out about it after it happens. And this plan has been in existence since the beginning of time and is perfect- so as was mentioned above I have to ask, why on earth would anyone pray to God to change this plan?

      May 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
    • riverrunner

      nope it was the force and she has jedi powers. I have proof for this (well as much proof as you have).

      May 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  11. chitown

    As a believer some people leave it to GOD when there is no scientific reason to explain a situation! What's wrong with that. I can't understand people's objection for her reasoning. You guys are too childish, for objecting to her reasoning.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • riverrunner

      that's not reasoning, its an emotional response. there are scientific reasons for her survival, not divine ones.

      May 24, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  12. Chris

    Death is merely an appointment with God that He has set for a date and time only He knows of which you will not be late for.
    Cherish life and make the most of it and focus on that. Don't worry about death for it comes when it is appointed and not a moment before.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • AGramsci

      Grow up, Chris.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  13. mike

    Why give god credit for surviving a crazy one-in-a-million scenario in which everyone around him died a gruesome, harrowing death. If i survived that, I would be thanking the airliner for giving me that specific seat, and the fat guy sitting next to me for absorbing most of the blow

    May 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • AGramsci

      Oh, come on, don't you know that the all powerful God is interested and attentive to what happens not only to you, but to the fat guy next to you?

      May 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  14. AGramsci

    What childish nonsense.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  15. zoovyvor

    Everyone has to have something to believe in. It's called Faith. Who knows for certain what is or isn't the 'truth'. The great thing is that you are allowed to freely believe what you choose to believe, and if believing that there is a better plan that you must follow, how is that a bad thing? Take a look at the world. Perhaps more people feeling this way would better the world we live in because we sure do spend a lot of time channeling our energy into how we can destroy each other as opposed to how we can make the world a better place.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • BassOMatic

      The world would be a far better place if people made decisions based on reason and evidence than ignorance and wishful thinking. Wake up and smell the reality.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • zoovyvor

      And how is reason and evidence working for you? BTW, I'm not saying I believe that what she feels is the way it is, I'm simply commenting on what she might be thinking. Not many people use reason and evidence to make decisions in this world, just in case you haven't been reading the news, just pick up the paper or return to the CNN main menu. Reason and evidence will prove this to be true. I think we have lost sight of a lot of stuff and hey, if believing in something gets you somewhere positive, why not?

      May 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
    • zoovyvor

      P.S. I'm not a super religious person.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Will

      Thank you, zoovyvor

      May 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  16. MissP30

    So the swiftly approaching flames didn't have anything to do with her decision to get out of the seat?

    May 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  17. zoovyvor

    I didn't read that she said (or others) that God doesn't love the ones that don't survive. Perhaps when people say that, they believe that it was time for those who perished to go to God because their time on earth had come to an end while for the ones who survived, their time is not yet up. I don't think that those of a strong religious fate feel that death equates to God not loving them but instead a calling of his children home. Some would argue that going to God is the greatest love.

    May 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Joshua

      But what if she gets hit by a car while she's leaving the hospital? Then God had nothing "specific" in mind for her and God was wrong to have spared her. It's nonsense. She says she's very lucky and God has something specific? It's either luck or the hand of God responsible for saving her. Can't be both.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • Jessica

      How do we know everyone on that plane is going home to GOD? We'd have to believe that many arent, the odds just suggest it.

      May 26, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  18. Joshua

    God did have something special in mind for her. He was trying to kill her, but he missed, accidentally killing every one else on board. Better luck next time, God!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • riverrunner

      love it!

      May 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • Will

      Only a very sad person would love that.

      May 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  19. Believer

    God has a PLAN for everyone. You may not always agree with his plan, either for yourself or for others, but he has a plan never-the-less. We simply don't understand it because we are too naive as human beings to truly understand the bigger picture. We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spirits having a human experience. If that "experience" only lasts days, months or a limited number of years, then so be it. It is part of the plan. Once you achieve peace with that notion, then living gets a whole lot easier and a lot less cynical. Whether you survive a horrific event or not isn't a question of whether you are in God's favor. It's just a page of the plan, and someday we will all get the chance to see the whole book. Cheer up!

    May 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • Joshua

      It's not really a PLAN if no body knows what the PLAN is, except of course, God himself. ANYTHING can be dismissed as part of some PLAN. The Holocaust, the Crusades, the KKK... ANYTHING! God's PLAN is another convenient excuse for people to cover up collective insanity.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • BassOMatic

      If that's true that God has a PLAN for everyone, where do you get off praying for him to change his plan for poor pitiful you? Don't you think the master architect of the whole universe has it all figured out and your bellyaching about what you want doesn't mean squat? God should just f*** up his plan just for you?**

      **Thanks to the late George Carlin for inspiring this rant.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • riverrunner

      so then a baby that is aborted is part of his plan? see where your logic quickly breaks down? probably not.

      May 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jessica

      Which is it – God has a plan, or humans have free will. Because, as I see it, the two cant work peacefully together. My free will can screw up his plan, just like his plan, can screw up my free will. If im sitting right here, and God's plan is for some crazy psycho to walk into my office and shoot up the place...well then, it wasnt that crazy psycho's free will was it? I am a little confused by the inconsistency in this whole belief – free will, or gods plan...?

      May 26, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  20. riverrunner

    So then God did not love the others who died? God must love me even since I have not been in a plane crash?

    May 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • kingtut

      Haha I agree. It bothers me when they think they were spared by God for some special reason. God must not of cared about those that he let die in a fiery plane crash.

      May 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • BldrRepublican

      Or, you can look at another way – those that died had fulfilled everything God wanted them to do, whereas the 8 survivors still have work to do. . .

      May 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • OhthatChar

      God loves ALL of us...bad or good. It was their collective time to depart this world. And return home.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • mnd

      Cherishing the gift of life and believing your life has purpose does not mean you believe you are better than others.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • Brook

      I suppose you're one of those annoying people that complains when someone has a piece of gum because they didn't bring enough for "everyone." "Hey God, if you're going to save one person, you have to save EVERYONE, waaaaaahhhh!!!!"

      May 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • evoc

      Its not that they weren't loved...it was just their time.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.