I do not believe that every thing happens for a reason. I know that the saying, “everything happens for a reason” is popular, as I just heard used earlier today but it is not truth. That sort of fatalism is simply bad theology, reasoning, or whatever you want to call it.
There is nothing in scripture which says that everything happens for a reason. In fact, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come where the Father’s will is done on earth as it is done in heaven (cf. Matt 6:10). Such a prayer assumes that some of the things which happen in life here on earth are not God’s will; they happen against God’s will. So not everything that happens has divine intent behind it’s cause.
So what does scripture say about God and the many things which happen in life? Here is what Romans 8:28 says:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
This is an extremely difficult passage to translate but what is clear is that God is at work some how in all things for the good. The passage does not say that all things are good nor does it say that all things happen by the will of God. It simply reminds us that God is at work in all things for good.
This raises an important question for us. Since God is at work in all things for the good, how do we see God working in what is happening in our life? That is a big question to ask and one that we may not be able to answer completely and may never be able to ever completely answer. However, if we can begin to discern what God is doing, the way in which God is at work in whatever is going on, then we can participate in God’s work. Even when “the thing” involves suffering in our life, if we can see how God is at work for the good then we can participate in bringing something good out of something so bad (e.g., see this post Forgiveness: A Story and the Song).
So here are the questions to ask:
- How do we see God at work in what is currently happening in our life?
- How can we participate with God in his work?