Where Were You Born?

In Mitch Albom’s new novel, the time keeper asks “how it was fair that your dying should depend so much on where you were born.”

It’s not fair—but it never has been.

Religion, worldview, health, education, opportunities, relationships and lifespan are all circumscribed by birth. Location, location, location in time and space are absolutely crucial to quality of life, yet completely beyond our control.

Take life expectancy as one example. In the time of Christ, it was 28 years. By the early twentieth century it had only climbed to 31 years. In the U.S. today it’s 50 years longer at 78.2 years.

Birth deals the original hand, but sometimes grace gives new cards.


My granddaughter Betti turns nine today. She and her younger brother Manny were born in Ethiopia. Their dad was murdered and their mom was dying of AIDS. Their future was bleak until Julie and Alan Briggs intervened. My daughter and son-in-law adopted the siblings, brought them to America and into a loving Christian home.

Our family has had the joy of watching the pair grow and blossom over the last three years. Last month we saw Betti get baptized.


What about all the orphans who aren’t rescued? Or the countless millions who live and die outside the reach of the Good News? Does God take birth into account when weighing lives?

Forget fairness. Let’s hope for justice.


6 thoughts on “Where Were You Born?

  1. I will take grace any day over fairness or even justice.

    Birthplace is the Key factor until grace arrives. Both of my daughters are adored and adopted. Both had lives with a dangerous trajectory. Each day I pray grace showers them in love and the trajectory moves away from tragedy and towards fulfilled dreams.

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