This past week a family member died, well her spirit has passed. Now we are simply waiting for her body to follow.
We think we are indestructible, even though we all know we are going to die someday. No matter how prepared you are, it still comes as a shock. And in this case, we were not prepared. At all.
I am writing this not because I am seeking condolences. Not that I don’t appreciate the many that have come our way from heart-felt friends. The prayers and love have meant so much to our family, and have kept us afloat during a terrible tragedy of a time. Truly, thank you so much. I am writing this post because I have to get something off my chest.
Everything DOES NOT happen for a reason.
Last week I stumbled across an article by Tim Lawrence called, ‘Everything does not happen for a reason’. The title was interesting enough, so I clicked over to read. It gave me much to think about. Things I had never really put into perspective before.
I have often uttered the words, ‘everything happens for a reason’ in the face of tragedy or the unexplainable before. I never thought about the consequences of those platitudes. It made me feel better to say it, to put a little reason to the unreasonable.
“Let me be crystal clear: if you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life. Grief is brutally painful…So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times…Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
As I have gone about my days this past week, carrying the weight of my family while my husband takes care of the business of death, I have heard this phrase said to me no less than 10 times. And every time it takes me back to the article.
While I don’t agree with the extreme negative spin of Tim Lawrence’s article, I do believe he has a point. When we say ‘everything happens for a reason’, we are implying that someone’s pain or joy was meant to be. We are lessening their experience so that it can fit in our nice and neat mental box. We aren’t saying it to be mean, of course not. We are saying it to try to comfort, or make sense of the situation. But here is the thing.
Someone getting cancer? There is no reason behind that. It just plain ole sucks. Someone getting into a car accident that leaves them paralyzed? Does saying it was meant to happen for some unknown reason really make it better? No. And it is also wildly untrue.
While I do not know God’s almighty plan, I do know he is not up there pointing fingers at people and saying – Cancer on you, broken leg on you, marriage on you, etc.
But here is what I DO know. While everything happens
for a reason, God can turn all things into good. So perhaps you are going through something unspeakable, a divorce that hurts so bad you just want to crawl in bed and die for example. It is hard, but you can make it through the pain. Afterwards, you will always carry that experience with you. And it is THIS, the experience, that God can use for good. Whether that is to help others, to touch someone else’s life, or to minister to you personally. God will turn all things for His good. Even the bad, unthinkable, why the hell is this happening to me kind of stuff. God can use it all.
So please, think before you respond next time when you hear tragedy strike. Everything does not always happen for a reason. Sometimes, everything just happens.