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?


  1. Christina! I'm so excited you've started blogging. I knew it would be worth waiting for!

    Romans 8:28 2And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    I had never thought about the phrase 'everything happens for a reason' like that before. You're right though and I'm just glad that God works in all things for the good of those who love him!

    Great start to your blogging career. Can't wait for what's next!

  2. yay! now I get to hear more of your insightful thoughts! I think you're right, people use the phrase as a defense mechanism, I know I do. But I also think it helps you grow stronger in life...if something happens to you that you didn't necessarily want to happen you can take that as an opportunity to grown and find something you enjoy even more!

  3. Hi Christina,

    I found my way over here from Peter P's blog. I don't buy the "everything happens for a reason" thing either. I do believe that God can use any situation for His glory, even our sinful nature. Even though I regret many of the things that I have done in the past, knowing what it feels like to be wretched and unforgiven, it gives me compassion for others who think there is no hope. Very good stuff! Congrats!

  4. I found you through Peter P and welcome to blogging. Looks like you are off to a great start.

    Everything happens for a reason is a great way to avoid personal accountability for one's actions.

  5. Hi Christina, I totally and whole heartedly agree with you. I probably go even further and say point blank that everything doesn't happen for a reason. You-Know-Who didn't kill John Lennon for a reason unless the reason is insanity. I also agree with what you hit upon which I think is best quoted from Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." So, yea, he transformed the bad he didn't really want into something good for our character. Finally, for the whole "Bad things happen to good people" well, just remember that it's not really true either because there aren't any truly good people since we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thus, it's more like "bad things happening to bad people" many of the times due to sin. Hey, glad you are blogging! Welcome aboard!

  6. Hi Christina-

    I have often wondered about that phrase, too. Seems like as finite people we are trying to make things fit together in a controllable way, that the broken-ness of this world won't feel so bad, that we won't feel so lost and separate from God's will. I like what Doah said, too, about it being more like "bad things happening to bad people."

  7. Hi Christina- I also came from Peter's blog.

    It really is amazing how many are satisified with this flimsy "answer" instead of pressing to know who God truly is and what is on His heart.

    Great first post!

  8. Great Post. Found you on Peter's blog. So true these words are tossed around to explain away everything.

    God Bless!

  9. Christina,

    Found my way over here via Peter's blog.

    It seems to me that the phrase, "everything happens for a reason" is just one way we try to grasp the concept of God's sovereignty... when something happens we don't fully understand, "everything happens for a reason" pops out. It's kind of a cop out in a lot of ways.

    You see, I FULLY believe that nothing happens (good, bad, or indifferent), outside of God's knowledge and, well... permission (I guess that's the word I'm looking for). I reflect back to Job... when all those awful things were happening in his life... his family killed, possessions destroyed, health taken, friends turning on him... none of it happened outside of God's express permission. God was not surprised by any of it. In fact, He had a purpose in the middle of it all.

    I believe the same is true in our lives. When the senseless occurs, God is not surprised, and further... I believe He has purpose in allowing such. Doesn't mean God MAKES everything happen... just that he allows it to.

    It's a deep topic for sure.

    Anyway, good start to your blog. I'll be checking back to see what else is on your mind!

  10. "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."

    Very well put. I espeically like the "He doesn't have to."

  11. Welcome to the blogging world. You have started wonderfully. Keep writing!

    As far as your post, I have never really been comfortable with that phrase -- its almost a false balm to help people feel better.

    God has a purpose -- and doesnt really need "reasons"

  12. I do think that everything happens for a reason....
    It's just that a good bit of the time, we don't get to know the reason.... But that's all right by me, as I know God has things well in hand.

  13. Very well said! Thank you for this. I look forward to reading more.