“Everything Happens for a Reason” – True or False?

People are divided about whether or not “everything happens for a reason”, including Christians. Some see every moment of life as part of God’s divine plan, others see much of life as random happenings. Further still, some understand life to not only be part of a plan from God but also with a specific purpose (often unknown), while others reject this notion, wondering how God could possibly have some sort of reason for allowing tragedies and severe human suffering.

This is deep stuff, and not to be taken lightly. And as I often say, no one should give a rip about what I think. Instead, we must look to God’s Word for the answers. If what I believe and teach does not come from the Bible, it is mere human opinion and worth little. But, if what I believe and teach comes from the Bible, then it is truthful beyond scrutiny and precious beyond words.

I don’t intend to go in depth on these matters – to do so would require hundreds of pages of reflection! But I do want to present a good chunk of Bible verses to support the idea that everything happens as part of God’s plan and has a reason and purpose behind it.

Consider the following:

Romans 3:3-5

[3] Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, [4] and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, [5] and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This teaches us that:

  • We can “rejoice in our sufferings” because we are armed with the knowledge that it is not meaningless, but rather is producing in us Christlike character.
  • This process of being formed through suffering is not incompatible with God’s love. In fact, verse 5 says it is evidence of God’s love in our lives.

James 1:2-4

[2] Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, [3] for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. [4] And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This teaches us that:

  • Like Romans 3:3-5, James says that we can meet suffering with “joy” because we “know” that it is used by God to strengthen our faith.
  • Evidently, suffering and trials are a means used by God to ensure that we are “lacking in nothing” as believers.

1 Peter 4:12-14

[12] Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. [13] But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. [14] If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

This teaches us that:

  • Christians should expect suffering and trials, and that we can “rejoice” in them.
  • We endure suffering with an eye to the return of Christ, when we are rewarded for our faithful service (verse 13).
  • Those who suffer for their faith are “blessed”, because it is confirmation of the genuineness of their faith.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

[16] So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. [17] For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

This teaches us that:

  • The sufferings of this life are “light and momentary” compared to life in heaven, which is an “eternal weight of glory”.
  • Our suffering “is preparing for us” our heavenly reward. This means that it is not meaningless, but rather is doing something – specifically, gaining us reward from God.

1 Peter 1:6-7

[6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

This teaches us that:

  • Our trials are “necessary”, not optional. In other words, they have meaning.
  • Trials happen to prove our faith is real and give us confidence that we will be rewarded by Jesus when we see him face to face. This truth is “more precious than gold”!

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

This teaches us that:

  • For the believer, everything that happens (either good or bad) is being worked together by God for their good. Therefore, everything has meaning.

Conclusion

These are just a small sampling of verses that show the Bible teaches that everything does happen for a reason. God has a plan and a purpose for everything in the universe, both the good and the bad, to use for his glory. In each of the above passages, the circumstance at hand is being used by God towards a desired outcome, usually the building up of stronger faith. There is so much more to be said, but let these promises from God’s Word begin to form for you a solid rock of faith to stand on, one that is built on the knowledge that whatever you may face, God is using it for his purposes, and that no suffering – however brutal or irrational – is ever meaningless.

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