Monday, January 26, 2009

Everything happens for a reason

Lately, I've been thinking about this phrase, "everything happens for a reason". What does that really mean anyway? I know most people use it as a way to make sense of something bad that has happened. Somehow it makes them feel better to think there is a reason behind whatever it is they are experiencing. I didn't get that job...everything happens for a reason, a loved one dies...everything happens for a reason, I broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend...everything happens for a reason. The more I think about how this phrase is used, the more I don't like it. It implies that God is sitting up in heaven micromanaging the world around us and He is causing the bad things around us to happen. I just don't believe this to be true.

Yes, everything happens for a reason and sometimes that reason is nothing more than a stupid choice, natural consequence, or sin. God doesn't micromanage us. He isn't crashing cars or taking a family's home from them because they have a lesson they need to learn. He allows us to make our own choices and suffer whatever consequences come from them, good or bad. Yes, God is more concerned with our character than our comfort, so I believe He allows things to happen that will strengthen us, but I don't believe in the image of God purposefully causing horrible things to happen in order to teach us lessons. He doesn't have to. All He really needs to do is allow us to suffer the natural consequences of our own decisions and sin. Then that begs the question, what about when bad things happen to good people? Well, unfortunately we live in a world full of sin and with that sin comes awful things. Thankfully, there's a loving God that is willing to use those ugly things that happen for good. He's there to salvage the wreckage and bring beauty from it. Is that what the phrase "everything happens for a reason" is supposed to mean?