I hate the phrase, "Everything happens for a reason." Somehow this overused phrase makes people feel better about the fact that life is hard. But if you really stopped to think about what it implies, it should make you feel even shittier than you already did. If everything happens for a reason, if every horrible thing is divinely ordained so that some good thing can happen, doesn’t that mean the God we serve is a giant asshole in the sky just messing with your life? Can God make beauty from the ashes? Absolutely. Can He speak to us in our valleys of despair? Often times He does. Can Christ bring us peace beyond our pain and understating? Yes. But that does not mean that the trials we go through are purposed to bring us beauty, truth, and peace. God is almighty and can bring us out of bad times in the most wonderful ways, but it does not mean the bad times had to be ordained to receive the good.
If everything happens for a reason, then there should be a reason babies die in their sleep, or in the arms of their parents moments after birth.
If everything happens for a reason, then God ordains marriages to break apart. Can there be renewal and even prosperity after divorce? Yes, but God does not ordain betrayal and divorce, that would simply go against His word.
If everything happens for a reason then there has to be a reason for people’s memories to be erased by Alzheimer’s before they are even done making memories.
If everything happens for a reason, there has to be a reason for 4 year olds dying of cancer.
If everything happens for a reason, there has to be a reason or a plethora of reasons that this world is filled with vile monsters who prey on children.
If everything happens for a reason there has to be a reason a freak car accident kills 4 out of 5 members of a family.
There would have to be a reason that teenagers and drug addicts accidentally get pregnant and couples try continuously for a child they are ready to love. There would have to be a reason the courts aren't always right. There would have to be a reason that evil sometimes prevails over righteousness. There would have to be a real reason for people hurting people.
That’s the thing. The reason people hurt each other is because we live in a fallen world. A beautiful, fallen, incredibly difficult to understand world. God made us out of love; for love. To love Him. But real love requires a choice and that choice requires free will and free will allows us to be hurt by people.
God allows us to get hurt, because a world in which we can get awfully, painfully, hurt, is a world where we can be hugely and wonderfully loved. God does not force the hand of pain just so we can recover or learn a lesson or even lean more fully on Him. That’s not love. God is not rooting for us to hurt each other just so He can clean up the pieces. But He is there for us when we are on the receiving end of that pain. God does not make a husband or wife hurt, betray, and cheat on each other. He can try to lead them back to truth, but He can’t force that either. Everything does not happen for a reason. Sometimes people are shitty just because they are. Sometimes babies die and sometimes life is incredibly unfair. There is no reason for it.
But there is Jesus. Ready to hold you through it all. Ready to guide you to abundant, peaceful pastures. Christ’s love is overwhelming, and answered prayers for peace, strength, and a way out can take your breath away. But if He could have spared us the pain, He would have. That’s why He took the pain of the cross. Beauty can come from the ashes of our pain. That’s how awesome our God is. But there is no comfort in the false claim that horrible things happen for a reason.
Honestly, when someone hears that my mother doesn't speak, that Alzheimer’s stole her voice and her life and her family grieves for her in the same breathe that they continue to care for her living body, the response everything happens for a reason, isn't comforting. I cannot fathom a reason for this and we’re 6 years in. I can’t even find a good lesson from this pain. I can find hope and peace in Christ, but I would rather have found that hope and peace without having to visit my mom in a nursing home. Platitudes, especially nonsensical ones, are not comforting. In all honesty, one of the most comforting things I've heard, is shit happens.
Because sometimes it does.