We have all heard it, have we not?
“It’s all good…everything happens for a reason.”
That line is used as a salve and as a panacea to any and all things not understood or sensible to us. And the implication is that we are supposed to just go with the flow and let this reason manifest. Far too often, this results in a sort of hollow fatalism which results in our justifying any action that we wish to pursue after we stamp our experience with that cliché.
But let’s stop a minute…what is the reason everything happens???
Is it always the same reason that everything happens? Does each thing happen for a different reason?
What if the reason is evil? Meaningless? Absurd? What then?
When atrocities occur, are those happenings for a reason, and if so, is there a reason to stop them? To let them continue?
See…it is the vague pithiness of that assumption that deeply disturbs me in my core. I think that it is a modern quan cribbed (as so much of our law, morality and guidelines for living in our culture are) from the remains of foundational bedrock spirituality bequeathed to us by Christendom, when it was vital, alive, and dangerous. I think that it comes from this truth, penned by the great thinker Paul of Tarsus: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose“.
Do you see that? There is a condition! Similar to our own experience when we wish to help someone mired in something bad for them–a habit, an addiction, a bad relationship, bad choices–it is impossible to truly help someone who refuses to embrace and receive that help!
Free will is a bitch! And it is the fulcrum that pivots our lives from one side of the truth that everything happens for a reason to the other side of it, which is God involving Himself in our lives and changing what is happening into something that ultimately is for our good.
Right now, it is true indeed that everything happens for a reason, and that reason is that this world is deeply broken and wounded by sin and death. No, not just the countless acts, great and small, which are mean, evil, venal, and self serving…sin and death are powers that have entered in and taken us hostage to their icy and implacable hold.
But it is also true that God has loved, does love, and will love us enough to get Himself dirty and covered in filth on our behalf, and through His involvement transform and resurrect our purpose and destiny into one that fills us with life, love and hope.
For those reading who already know that I urge you to comb back thru the recent events in your life and recalibrate…root out the sloppy thinking and fatalistic resignation to the happy illusion that it will all just work itself out…it won’t!
For those reading to whom the concept of loving God and choosing to be called according to His purpose is new: I invite you to consider asking God first of all what His purpose might be…what Love is…and for Him to begin to dialogue with you regarding the possibility of choosing to love Him.
Everything happens for a reason, and God, who loves us, cares enough to cause all things to work together for good if we let Him, if we open the door to Him by our free will and choice to love Him.
Pedantic words perhaps to some…but no less true for it.