Prepare for a rant…but a semi-polite one.
For years I’ve heard the following phrase offered as everything from personal motto to a salve for heartache and unexpected tragedies:
"Everything happens for a reason."
I cringe in the typing of it. It’s beyond me. Before I unleash my tempered rant, let me preface with this: Most people who utter these words do so out of a heart of both faith and compassion. I get that. The intent, I believe, is to issue encouragement and reinforce the belief that God is in control. HOWEVER, I’m not so sure "Everything happens for a reason" is really true.
For arguments sake, let’s say this phrase is true, that every event, no matter how apparently random, is pregnant with intentional purpose, each an orchestrated event exacted on real people for some unidentifiable reason.
What does this mean for the parents of a child who is stillborn?
Or the father who can’t feed his starving children?
How do the words "everything happens for a reason" help the man whose wife just walked out, or the child who is witnessing horrific genocide, or the family who just watched their home burn to the ground?
My gut response (thanks for asking) is that some events in life are, indeed, orchestrated by God for a divine purpose. However, there ARE times when LIFE JUST HAPPENS. And, when it feels like all hell is breaking loose, I am more buoyed by the truth that NO CIRCUMSTANCE IS BEYOND GOD’S ABILITY TO AFFECT than some random offering of "everything happens for a reason."
Please, if you see my home burning to the ground, keep this in mind.