"Everything happens for a reason."

 “Everything happens for a reason.”

So many have shared their frustration at this statement, commonly tossed at grievers in a genuine and caring attempt to encourage them in their suffering and I get it. It has taken me some time to tackle this one because it’s a little more complex to unpack…

Does everything happen for a reason? I’d say yes, but no in the way you may be thinking. Sometimes that reason is simply that we live in a broken world, tainted by the fall, and unspeakable evils are now a reality. This world is not as it was created to be and one day Jesus will return again to fully restore it (Rev. 21:5). But I don’t want to just end there, because there is more of this to explore…

God holds the power over everything and nothing happens without first filtering through His hands. He is NOT the author of evil or death, nor does He delight in it. He is the ultimate enemy of death––it is why He sent Jesus to earth to destroy death forever. In the story of Job, Satan approaches God and asks for permission to harass Job. God could have stopped this, yet he allows Satan to afflict Job and forbids him from taking his life. In our humanness, it is difficult for us to wrap our minds around this––a good, good Father allowing death in the world. I’m comforted knowing He is more powerful than evil, that this is all temporary, and that He *knows* these things hurt and sent Jesus to make it right. Forever.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I think we sometimes read this to mean that the bad things we face are actually good, but that is not what this verse is saying. Some things, like death, abuse, etc., have no good in them. There is no silver lining and we can confidently define them as horrendous. But nothing is beyond God’s redemption and He in His goodness works through those horrible things for the good of His children, all while grieving and weeping with us over the brokenness of it all. All while unfolding His plan to restore for all eternity.