everything for a reason

Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Why or why not?

No. There are some things that just happen. We decide if those things have meaning or are meaningless. Some times we discover the meaning later. Some times we impose the meaning after the fact. Some things do happen for a reason. Some things just happen.

That being said, I do believe Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Where I live, this verse is often connected to the notion that all things happen for a reason or that God makes everything happen and therefore everything that happens will ultimately work out as “good.”

I think it is a large logical leap that has little to do with deep and abiding faith to connect that verse and saying as if they were the same or even very similar. I do believe that in and through every situation or circumstance, God will work with the people who love God to bring about good. In all situations and circumstances, God is working for redemption. Redemption and reconciliation are part of the very nature of God, it is who God is, so in all things God is at work. But I think it is a misreading of this text to make God the one who orchestrates or manipulates all things. I think it is a further misreading to quote this verse in a context that would say everything happens for a reason.

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About Sarah The Vicar of Hogsmeade

I'm an United Methodist clergywoman with two daughters. I read. I geocache. I look for excuses to laugh. My Ph.D. is on Clergywomen and Grief.
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3 Responses to everything for a reason

  1. Terri says:

    Although I have yet to understand how certain circumstances in my life will be redeemed and made good and where and how God is working with me for that to happen – I think the same as you ….God is not a puppeteer and we are not God’s puppets – and yet God is active in the world striving to bring all things to good.

  2. Songbird says:

    The thing I find hard about this is the lesson I learned in CPE: if someone has a system that works for them, don’t take it away! So I would sit and listen to that kind of theological thinking and try not to agree with it and yet affirm the person’s faith if that faith seemed strengthening. As a pastor, I sometimes jump in and say, I don’t believe God does that! And people are both surprised and, I think, relieved. But some cannot hear it. The cultural assumption that there is a God managing things, the childlike cultural assumption (in my opinion), rises up and takes the person back out of the conversation. It feels safer to think of God as doling out lessons and punishments, to some people. Sadly.

  3. Sarah says:

    Terri – Waiting to see the results of redemption is hard waiting! For me, trusting that God will redeem all things is one of the mysteries of faith. I can’t explain it all the way through in a nice logical way but I trust that God will make it happen even when I see no way for it to happen.

    Songbird – One of the things discussed often in my Internship group was that to be an effective pastor most of the time we need to let pastoral care “trump” good theology. In the midst of a crisis, we need comfort not another challenge. There are other places and times to help people consider what they believe.

Overheard at the Three Broomsticks

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