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.