Every six months or so I feel the need to repost this. I keep hearing this from people of faith. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Everything? Happens for a Reason?
I am not sure what everyone who says that phrase means by it. I am not sure everyone who says it understands what they are saying. It sounds like a statement of faith. It sounds noble to say. Yet it communicates the following idea: “Although I do not know why this is happening, I trust that God is doing this for a reason and I will just wait to learn the lesson God has for me to learn.” I have to ask. Please help me understand. Does everything happen for a reason that God has in His plan?
Consider these thoughts before you say, “everything happens for a reason.”
- If everything happens for reason designed by God then we have no free will. That means that God predetermines every aspect of my life including my faith or lack thereof. I know that followers of Calvinism will agree. But did God really have a reason for me to play basketball in the dark and stub my toe on a stealthily hidden root?
- If everything happens for a reason, why did the inspired apostle and Biblical writer Paul say “perhaps” and not, “I know.” When writing to Philemon about Onesimus? “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother–especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” (Phm 1:15-16). If Paul cannot be definitive about God having a reason, why should we claim God has reason for all the events in our lives?
- If everything happens for a reason designed by God then we face TEMPTATION for a Reason. However, consider instead what James has to say: Jas 1:12-18, Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (Underlined emphasis – BSMc) God does not tempt. Paul lets his readers know that not only is God NOT the author of temptation, but provides help for us to avoid sin, 1 Cor 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. What do you mean, Paul? God wants our success. Personally, I will listen to Paul and James.
- If everything happens for a reason designed by God they we ALWAYS SUFFER for a Reason at the hand of God. Personally, I think we are quick to say “there is a reason for everything” because, like our children, we like immediate answers and results. The oven door barely closes and your children ask, “When will the pizza be ready?” We pray to God to help us find a job and in our next prayer we ask, “God, when will I get that job?” A family member or we ourselves suffer a tragedy and we ask, “God, why did You do this to me? I know everything happens for a reason, what is the reason?”
We must not blame God for what He does not do.
After telling a parable about weeds in harvest and the coming of the reapers Jesus explains the parable to the disciples as recorded by Matthew in 13:37-43. Notice who Jesus blames for the causing the weeds, “He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.”(underline emphasis – BSMc). Personally, I will listen to Jesus.
Everything may have a reason.
But that reason is not always God.
- The reason may be my poor choice.
- The reason may be the poor choice of someone else.
- The reason could very well be the influence of Satan in the world.
- And perhaps, the reason could be God’s work in the world, after all “every good and every perfect gift is from above.”