Incessantly Standing in the Way

If you haven’t heard of this guy, you need to check him out. His name is Mason Wells, and he always seems to be standing in the wrong place. He was on the scene at the Boston Marathon explosion, the Paris bombing, and was critically injured during the Brussels terrorist attack. What are the chances?

How could anyone be at all three of these sites of human carnage? Certainly it’s possible due to the time intervals between these events—but probable? I think not. Yet, it’s true.

If I were he, I‘d have a few questions. I’d be asking things like, “Why me?” “Why am I still alive?” “Would anyone care to go for a walk with me?”

Accidentally Present

To be accidentally present for any one of these occurrences would be highly improbable. To be in attendance at all three… Well, you do the math if you know how. Let’s just say, this may be the unluckiest man on the planet (or the most fortunate, depending on how you look at it—he’s still alive, after all).

The real kicker is this. He was an LDS missionary. (No, not an LSD missionary—although, if he told you his story, you might think he was tripping on some hallucinogen). I’m not of the LDS (Latter Day Saint) persuasion; but if I was him, I might consider changing teams. If he were a Roman Catholic, he would probably be canonized already. I’m pretty sure his survival is a documented miracle.

The nice part of Mason’s story is that, although his faith has been sorely tested, it has deepened according to him. I guess trials and tribulations can do that. It’s just that most of our trials are a tad less dramatic than his were. I’ve always heard the third time’s a charm, but c’mon!

Shortly after he began the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said an interesting thing. He told his followers, ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11) In other words, if you’re persecuted, count it a blessing.

The Caveat

Well, Mason Wells must ultimately be one of the most blessed guys going. The modern day terrorists seem to be singling him out. If that’s not persecution, I don’t know what is. They seem to have him targeted. Everywhere he goes is ground zero. If it weren’t so scary, it would be funny.

Unfortunately, there was a caveat to what Jesus said about being blessed. Being persecuted alone apparently isn’t enough. You need to be persecuted for his name’s sake. I’m not sure Wells qualifies on that count. Being an “innocent bystander” probably isn’t the same thing. Still, just being there on three separate occasions should count for something. A blessing is a blessing. I suppose he’ll take them any way we can get them.

As for me, I’m looking for an easier route to my blessings. Terrorists aren’t doing God’s work (I don’t care what they say).

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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