Again today, I heard a saying that just doesn’t make sense to me.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Does it? And is this an absolutely true statement? From where did it originate? Is it a misinterpreted truth?
It is most often used when something goes wrong. It is most often shared when someone wants to bring hope into a difficult circumstance to someone else. But does it really bring hope or comfort to someone?
If there is no God, then the meaning is that all matter, all causes, and all affects are arbitrary and somehow there is some kind of pixie dust floating around in our atmosphere that magically manipulates ideas, circumstances, inanimate objects, and even people to follow some kind of cosmic epistomological plan.
Since this is not true, since there is a God, then the resulting hypothesis would be that all things including evil are not the result of human action but God’s plan, not originating in the mind of a person, but in the mind of God.
This is not the God we serve and the God of the universe. Since when does the killing of anyone lead to a greater good? What kind of God would kill someones kid in order to make inroads with their parents? Do the ends really justify the means in every case?
If you break it down a bit and think through what this statement is saying, I’d bet folks would stop saying it.
The origination of this statement might truly come from a poorly translated verse in the King James Version of the Bible. In that version, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” So the “all things” seem to have some kind of ability to know when something has gone wrong and know how to “work together for good.” I can see how this verse has turned into “Everything happens for a reason.”
The NIV folks got it right when they translate the verse as ”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The grammar requires a logical decision to not make the neuter “things” the subject of the sentence, but the object of God.
The key to God working out the things is that we love Him and walk in the purposes He set out for us. Let’s do that. In this 2012 Advent season, let’s purpose to live for Jesus, fondly and humbly remember His first coming, and greatly anticipate His second coming.