With grateful hearts, we share our thoughts on redemption through Jesus Christ and His saving blood and what it looks like in our daily walk.

We gladly welcome your comments and input.
AND since we hold our conservative values dear, we might have a thing or two to say about politics... and we can almost guarantee it won't be politically correct.

Monday, October 29, 2007

'Everything Happens for a Reason'

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that saying, I'd be a whole lot richer. I hear it on TV shows, in song lyrics, in movies, and in countless everday conversations I'm either having or over-hearing. I've even heard it in many church services or Bible studies and read it in several books.

The saying, "Everything happens for a reason" is wrong. False. Not true.
This terminology is not in the Bible, contrary to what so many Christians (and non-Christians) erroneously think.
If you mean, by using this phrase , which most people do, that everything has a divine purpose, that God caused such and such to happen to teach you a lesson or bless you eventually in some yet-to-be revealed way, or that everything was caused by God Himself (either by primary or secondary cause, which most people phrase as, "God allowed such and such to happen"), then I have to disagree.

However, I do believe nothing happens by accident. Even things we've come to call "accidents" don't happen by accident. For example, accidental pregnancies. You may not have wanted to get pregnant, but if you had sex, then you really didn't get pregnant on accident. So, in that case, yes, you got pregnant for a reason...the reason being: you had sex. Another example: car accidents. These aren't really "accidents" either. These happen for any number of reasons: someone was drunk and swerved into oncoming traffic, someone was talking on the cell phone while changing the radio station and eating french fries and ran into the stopped car in front of them, someone was turned around trying to reach something in the back seat and ran a red light...you get the idea.

In this sense, I can agree that everything does happen for a reason. However, I cannot agree that God is the author of everything that happens. This kind of thinking goes against the principal teachings of the Bible and the character of God as revealed in the Bible.

I often wonder if "everything happens for a reason" is such a popular saying because of the supposed comfort and absolution it gives us. But it affords us a false comfort if anything, thinking that God is in control and will somehow, someday reveal to us His divine plan and how it is in our best interests. Likewise, it's a false absolution because we are never truly absolved from personal responsibility. But people tend to want to think, God's in control, so what could I really have done? I didn't cause this. I'm not to blame. Everything happens for a reason.

Don't misunderstand me. Bad things happen. Sometimes even things we don't directly cause (unless you consider Adam's original sin, by which we have been affected). But God didn't cause them. They didn't happen for a reason. Unless you consider the reason being A) Sin or B) Sinful people or C) Satan who is out to destroy you.

Another common false statement many people make is "God won't give you more than you can handle." This is no where in the Bible. What IS in the Bible is this: God won't allow you to be tempted beyond what you can resist. And in case you're thinking that God is the one tempting you, the Book of James clears that up. According to James 1:13, we shouldn't say that God is tempting us, because God cannot be tempted with evil neither does he tempt any man. Evil happens when we are enticed and dragged away by our own lust. Bad things aren't from God. The Bible tells us that all GOOD gifts come down from our Father in Heaven. One good gift God gives us: a way of escape when temptations and bad situations arise.

So, instead of saying, "everything happens for a reason," I'd rather say, "Everything happens for a season." No matter what life or the devil or other people throw my way and no matter what situations I myself create, I can find victory over the situation through Jesus Christ. I don't have to stay in the circumstance, but can find the way out which God has graciously provided for me.


miss priss said...

now that's some good stuff! preach on, mlm. no time to expound but i just had to say a BIG, BIG AMEN to your summation of the popular "phraseologies" i do tire of hearing.

God is NOT the author of evil nor does He use evil to bring about good. He WILL bring about good OUT of evil when we turn to Him in it. He delights to do GOOD and He isn't dual minded or purposed.

Anonymous said...

great post. I too tire of those phrases.

Even as I am struggling with a very trying time I know that God has not "done" this to me or "allowed" it to happen. No my issue has arisen from an attack of the enemy.

God may not be able to stop it from happening, we humans have free will (a true testament to God's love for us). So bad things do happen and we can't control our every circumstance. Sometimes others in our life cause us pain. God did not have them cause us pain, but the enemy did through his lies and manipulation whether they know that or not.

If I believe everything happens for a reason, how can I then go to God for strength and courage to bring me out of it? How could I ask him to deliver me? How could I stand on the authority of the blood of Jesus that was given to me by God in the way of his son being sent to die on the cross? I couldn't do these things if I believed that God had any part in my suffering because it would be contradictory.

God's grace and mercy is great. He is there for us in every hour of need. He is waiting for us to run to him and He wants us to run to him. I don't enjoy the trials of this life, but I find peace in knowing that I serve a good and loving God that is there for me in my time of need. He is not a puppet master inflicting pain on me. Rather he is pursuing me and calling me to him, ready to give me wisdom, comfort and love to endure the attacks of the enemy.

MLM said...

Miss Priss: Comments of any length are always welcome! :o) God does turn evil into good, just like you said, but His heart is SO good that He prefers to do us good right from the start, instead of having to turn evil around. Yet even when He DOES turn evil around, it's helpful to know that God is TOO BIG and TOO GOOD to have caused the evil in the first place. God can do good (and He DOES) all on His own, without having to stoop to use the devil (His sworn enemy) as His errand boy.

Anon: Great comment. I love what you brought out about confusion and confidence. You wrote, "If I believe everything happens for a reason, how can I then go to God for strength and courage to bring me out of it? How could I ask him to deliver me? How could I stand on the authority of the blood of Jesus that was given to me by God in the way of his son being sent to die on the cross? I couldn't do these things if I believed that God had any part in my suffering..."

So TRUE! If we really believed God made us sick to teach us a lesson or grow us stronger, we ought to not pray for healing or go to a doctor. We ought instead to ask God to make us sicker, and more often! No, that doesn't even make walking around sense. In order to have confidence that God will answer our prayers, we have to pray according to His will. What is His will? The Word of God, which says (among other things): "Jesus (the will of God in action) went about doing GOOD and HEALING all who were oppressed of THE DEVIL, for God was with Him." Thank God that God is still with us today...still doing good, still healing, still strengthening us, still setting us free! WOO-HOO!

Meems said...

What about the one, "we know all things work together for our good"?

Those words were not stated willy-nilly for us to go around spouting out about every situation in life we don't understand or can't explain. (I have to add here, if this were true then why isn't everyone really happy about everything that happens to them?)

As if every evil, every sickness, every sin, every circumstance is actually okay because it is working together for our good.

Paul was actually referring to prayer when that scripture is taken in context. Specifically the kind of prayer that enlists 'our spirit' to pray when we don't "know how to pray". (Rom 8:26)The Holy Spirit comes to our aid in our weakness with groanings too deep for utterance. As our spirit(with the help of the Holy Spirit) prays before God in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will... THEN we are assured that as we pray, all of these things (prayer, the Spirit, God's word) WORK TOGETHER for our good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarity on that scripture meems. One hears that quoted so very often, but no one ever seems to quote the surrounding verses. Of course this happens with a lot of versus ;). That post certainly helped me see more clearly what Paul was talking about.

Bryan L said...

Good post MLM!

You might want to check out Greg Boyd's book "Is God to Blame".

He discusses at one point a girl who was raped when she was younger. She was told all here life that everything happens for a reason and that God always has a purpose blah blah blah. Well now she's an adult and she finds herself struggling with faith issues. She can't trust God and Boyd says of course you can't. How are you supposed to trust a God to do good that uses something like rape for your well being. In the end you have to redefine what good and evil mean so much that they no longer mean anything.

But that's the truth. How can you trust God to work good in your life when he uses things like rape and murder for good. You can't!

Anyway he probably didn't say it just like that but it was similar. It's a really good book. Out of all the books I talk about that is one that I would recommend at the top of the list. It's short too (probably less than 200 pages). And if you want to go deeper after that there is his 2 bigger books on the subject "God at War" and "Satan and the Problem of Evil".

Bryan L

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Very well written; I wish so many people could understand what you do.
I have one issue with what you said, however;
the 'original sin' Although this was the original reason that Adam was kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God knew that it was going to happen.
In His eternal plan, right from the start, God knew that us humans were sinners. That's why he sent Jesus.
We cannot, therefore, place blame or say that it's Adam's fault, because, despite what he has done, we would all be kicked out of the garden; we are all sinners.
Im not sure if you agree with this, and i would love clarification if im wrong, but these are my thoughts on that.
Thanks, and keep up the good posts.

Meems said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I think I don't really understand your statement as it relates to this post. Unless you are referring to this part of the post... "Don't misunderstand me. Bad things happen. Sometimes even things we don't directly cause (unless you consider Adam's original sin, by which we have been affected). But God didn't cause them."I don't think our point was to blame Adam or say anything was his fault -- our point was to say that because Adam sinned, we all sin. And because of sin - bad things happen. You are right in that God knew Adam would sin --- BUT He still gave Adam the choice. Every day each of us have a choice to sin or not to sin. God knows (because He is all-knowing)what our choices will be but we still individually make our own choices.
I hope that makes sense and answers your inquiry.

revtrev said...

I'm searching for some historical information about when "Everything that happens is the will of God, and nothing happens that is not the will of God." My thoughts are around Augustine's City of God and Anselm in the 11th Century.

Do you know where I can find out more about it? You've done a great post.

Jordan said...

EXCELLENT POST!!! I teach along these same lines myself, and couldn't agree more. God bless, keep speaking truth!

Jordan said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more! I teach along these lines myself quite often. Keep on speaking truth! God bless.