Does everything happen for a reason? What about the bad things?

I used to think that everything happened for a reason. I believe in God after all, so the world was not random to me. As time progressed though, there were many things that I couldn’t make sense of. How could I explain the bad things that happened? My husband lost his mom suddenly. My best friend, whose biggest hope for her life was to become a mother and wife, lived through endless miscarriages. It was hard to imagine that there could be a reason for these things. My new phrase became, “Not everything happens for a reason, but everything can be used for His purposes.” After all, my husband met me within a month of his mom passing away. The miscarriages led my friend to adoption, and now she has a sweet baby girl whom she absolutely adores. I definitely believe that good can come from the bad. Nevertheless, at various points I wondered, why didn’t God intervene? He could have stopped the suffering.

Newly engaged

Newly engaged

Unfortunately a long time ago we could not simply accept God’s love and trust Him completely. We fell to the temptation of wanting to know all, to control all— to be God ourselves. With that, Evil entered our world. Fortunately, God did not abandon us despite our complete betrayal of Him. Are you thinking, well that was a long time ago, and it wasn’t me that did that, so why should I pay the price? Let’s jump ahead to Jesus’ death. Jesus (and therefore God) was betrayed by the people He loved, and He still did not abandon us. Ok, sure. Still a long time ago. Still not me— poor, innocent victim me. Before I start getting all high and mighty and thinking that I would have done better in that situation, I better take a good hard look at my life. Have I not betrayed God too? I have wanted to understand things that were not for me to know. I have wanted to control things that were not for me to control. I know down here on Earth we are considered adults, and thus we think we should be knowledgeable and in control. Oh sure there are times when our children need to just take our word for it because they can only understand our reasons in their most basic form, and sure, we expect them to relinquish their control to us because we are the parents, and even though to them eating candy for every meal seems like a good idea, we know better. The thing is, when it comes to God, we are the children. We have to trust Him even when we don’t understand because there are some things that we cannot understand right now, and we have to relinquish our control to Him because He is the parent and knows better.

We’re led to believe that knowledge and control are the be all, end all. But are they? You can pretend like you have it all figured out, and you can try to control things that are outside of your control all day long. Isn’t it burdensome though to try to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? And what do you do when it all comes crashing down? Now think about a child. How badly do they want to be all grown up and to get to do all the cool things that their parents can do? Will they be ready for that someday? Sure. If we were to turn over the reigns to them right now though, wouldn’t that be a disaster? Would it really be fun for them? No, because they are children. They are supposed to be learning and growing, but they are not supposed to carry all the burdens of adulthood— that is too heavy for them— they’re not ready yet. Have you ever looked at a child, all carefree and having fun? They appear as though they don’t have a care in the world because some adult is responsible for those cares. Do you ever long to be that relaxed and carefree again? Believe it or not, you can be to some extent. As I said before, we are children of God. Hand over your burdens to your Dad. Don’t worry, He’ll gladly take them off your plate. Now that you don’t have to worry anymore (a lot of good that was doing you anyway), you can be at peace too.

Going back to the issue of why didn’t God intervene, I realized that God had to stand by and not intervene while He watched His Son die– His Son, who had lived a sinless life and poured out His love upon the world. God had to allow Jesus to die for a people that couldn’t see God even when He came down from Heaven for them. How hard would it be to give your life for someone who loved you? Would you even consider giving your life for someone who didn’t love you and who lived sinfully? What about for someone who betrayed you or tried to kill you? We can never fully appreciate what Jesus did for us. Did God not intervene with Jesus because He didn’t love Him? Absolutely not. Did God want Jesus to suffer? Absolutely not. Was there a reason He didn’t intervene? Without a doubt. Only God can see the big picture. God can see the past, the present, the future. He can see the impact of decisions not just on us, but on the world. So whereas God never wanted Evil to enter the world, He has a plan to combat Evil that sometimes involves intervening, like sending His Son down, and sometimes involves letting events play out, like letting us kill Him.

Sometimes we will be fortunate enough to be able to make sense of tragic events, but sometimes we never will. Either way, rest assured that God has not abandoned you. If he didn’t intervene, there was a reason, though we may not be able to learn what that reason was until we meet Him someday. This is where the hard part of faith comes in. We have to believe even when we don’t understand– even when we can’t see. Look deep into your heart and feel the love God has for you. Know– please know that He loves you, and He doesn’t want you to suffer. I believe that God is actively watching over us, even when we try to pretend He isn’t there. We get lost in our day to day lives, but there are big things at stake here– bigger than our suffering, which is only temporary anyway. There is a battle of Good and Evil going on. We can choose to get in on the fight for Good, or we can allow ourselves to drown in our sufferings and inadvertently invite Evil into our lives. I know which side I want to be on. Do you?

10 thoughts on “Does everything happen for a reason? What about the bad things?

  1. What a powerful post. I’m right there with you…”Not everything happens for a reason, but everything can be used for His purposes.”….and it is all used for His purpose. I sometimes think we forget to be a child and rest in His arms. Thanks for your words.
    Crisi recently posted…To Forgive or Not To Forgive???My Profile

    • Thanks Crisi! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. This topic has been on my mind for a while, as you know, and as I was folding laundry yesterday I had a moment of clarity and had to write it down before I lost it. I’ve found that lately God has been communicating to me through my writing, and it’s weird because I’m writing down the message, but it’s a lesson for me too.

  2. Well stated! It is so easy to want to control everything and forget to trust Our Father.

  3. Jennifer,
    What a fantastc writer you are! So beautiful and true. This really puts everything in an obvious perspective.
    Thank you for this, so perfect for a Friday afternoon when the work week is done, worry subsided and as always I say : Why do I worry so much? I know my Dad will look out for me as always. Its just going to take practice.
    You are an inspiration to me and am sure a lot of people. God Bless you guys at the river this weekend and have fun! Love in Him, Sue Decker

    • Wow Sue, thank you so much!! What kind words! I wish I could take credit for the writing, but I believe they were God’s words– I was just given the privilege of writing them down.

      I agree. Letting go of worries is hard, and it definitely takes practice. It’s ok to be a work in progress though. God gives us a lifetime to figure it out for a reason.

      Thanks, we’re looking forward to some good family time this weekend.

  4. What a great reminder, Jennifer! Ultimately suffering can be an opportunity to grow closer to God which is our end goal…to repair the rift that happened in the fall and be with Him in Heaven. While I am generally horrible at trusting God’s plan for my life, the best things happen when I do. I also like to think about that beautiful time when I can look back on my life with God next to me and finally understand what it was all about. You just never know how your suffering may be a blessing to someone else or how God is using it to prepare you for something in His plan for you down the road. There is incredible freedom in trusting, but letting go is certainly the hard part! Thanks for sharing!

    • What a beautiful comment! Absolutely! It is easy to fall into the trap of overvaluing comfort, forgetting that it’s often the times when our lives are shaken up that really make us who we are, and to your point, accomplish the ultimate goal of allowing us to strengthen our faith. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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