Everything Happens For A Reason?

I deeply struggle with the saying that everything happens for a reason. When I think about this, I think, “What a terrible disservice to God.” If everything happens for a reason, then God was pulling some cosmological strings to make the Holocaust happen. And, if you take this logic to its end, when people overdose on drugs, when people die of starvation, when people are diagnosed with cancer, then this all happened for a reason?

I’d rather say that everything happens with a reason. When I hear this, I think, “Only God would seem to use the things we throw away.” This gives credibility to our stories. God gains glory not from causing the Holocaust, but from all the ways society reacts to it and makes changes because of it. God gains glory not through Hitler, but through people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or people who were in the concentration camps like Etty Hillesum, who said, “Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.”

The God who is working despite everything is clearly seen in Jesus Christ, who is not flexing his bicep over the world and looking to cause all of these terrible things, but is there grieving, communing, and healing those who are wounded on the path of life. When everything happens with a reason, as Richard Rohr says, “Everything belongs.” We can use the painful, sinful, broken times of our life, not discredit them. Despite the many failings in Plan A, God is working in plan B, C, D, all the way to Z, to use all the broken areas of life and to help people make sense of the pain that not only this world brings on people, but the pain they cause to themselves. If everything happens for a reason, then there is something driving a great injustice. But, when everything happens with a reason, our lives gain a deeper meaning and purpose, even if we may not understand why things happened the way they did.

6 thoughts on “Everything Happens For A Reason?

  1. [...] Theology with 0 Comments A friend of mine, +Mike Friesen has a great post entitled "Everything Happens For A Reason?". I commented on his post that it was on this topic that +Meredith Imler and I most often [...]

  2. Mike,

    Acts 4: 27-28 says:

    “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” -ESV

    The greatest injustice that humanity has ever committed was predestined by God. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews all had different motivations for killing Jesus yet the Bible says they did “whatever you hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” You may not like that but it is the Word of God.

    Everything does happen for a reason and that is something that we can be comforted by. Check out my post on this here: http://anotherchristianblog.org/2012/01/19/reformed-theology-and-grieving/

    Keep Writing,

    Travis (anotherchristianblog.org)

  3. Mike Friesen says:

    Oh Travis,
    I won’t deny that some things were. Things like eschatology, certain prophetic event, etc…

  4. I had friends in college who said this constantly, and obviously the logic falls apart, well, instantly. Great post.

  5. TS says:

    “With” a reason, exactly. It’s not really that everything happens for a reason, it’s that God brings reason into the broken things that happen.

  6. [...] friend of mine, +Mike Friesen has a great post entitled "Everything Happens For A Reason?". I commented on his post that it was on this topic that +Meredith Imler and I most often [...]

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