Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not everything happens for a reason, BUT...

"As it is, we do not see everything... but we do see Jesus..."
(Hebrews 2:8b)

As a pastor, I've had more than one conversation with folks around the notion that "everything happens for a reason."  It's a common expression.  And many people of faith adhere to it.  I think others find it comforting, is some sense.  But I'm not sure I believe it.  Not the "everything" part, at least.

The feeling behind "everything happens for a reason," is the idea that God, the Divine Engineer, is behind everything that happens.  So good or bad... even though we may  not understand it now... we can trust that God knows what He's doing.  Eventually, it'll all work out for us.

But then you've got those "pesky issues"... like natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, typhoons, etc.), war, genocide, car/plane/train/motorcycle/boat accidents, etc.  I have a hard time embracing the idea that God causes all these kinds of things to happen for a reason.  Now, we could "prove" that all things do actually happen for a REASON... if we want to get into the "reason" earthquakes occur (plate tectonics), or hurricanes (atmospheric pressure), or genocide (racism), or even some transportation accidents (equipment malfunction, human error, driving while impaired/sleepy, etc.)... but that's not exactly the same thing as intended by that expression in the first place, is it?

Where I take comfort is that I believe God can take ANYTHING in our lives (experiencing disaster, being in an accident, going through a break-up, the death of a loved one, etc.) and bring something GOOD out of it.  This doesn't mean that everything that happens in our lives is good... far from it.  It doesn't mean that God caused everything to happen, either.  But it does mean that God can REDEEM anything we experience.  God can help bring something good out of our pain, struggles, and difficulties.

The Bible is full of such stories.  It may not make it easier to go through at the moment, but it can give us hope.

One more thing.  The book of Hebrews has a line that I think speaks another bit of hope into our discussion.  Though the author is talking about the role of angels & humans and their interactions, he writes this... "As it is, we do not see everything... but we do see Jesus."  We may not see "the reason" behind why things happen in our lives.  One day we may.  Then again, we may never know "why."  But when that is murky, there is one thing that is clear.  Jesus.  We have the Biblical account of who Jesus was in his lifetime... how he related to others... brought healing, grace & compassion to all... and gave himself away to a hurting world in the name of love.  And those of us who claim to be Christ Followers also have the added insight of being in a personal relationship with him.  So in the midst of uncertainty & chaos... while we're going through painful situations & troubling times... we may not be able to see that everything happens for a reason... but we can see Jesus.  He is our hope & our anchor. 

And he is enough.

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