“Everything happens for a reason.”
“Everything happens for a reason” has got to be one of the most incorrect, mentally lazy, spiritually vapid statements on Planet Earth. It is, however, admittedly a creative way to organize the mess of our lives mentally and emotionally after the fact of what we credit for happening for a reason.
Perhaps I should have massaged that statement and eased into it a little bit before “letting it off the table” for your consideration. Nonetheless, let me elaborate.
To believe or be persuaded that everything happens for a reason is akin to turning the wheel of a ship over to the “Ghost of Christmas Past”, pulling the rudder out of the water, and replacing it with Ramen noodles. It’s just that nonsensical.
Of course, it is perfectly normal and human to search for a reason that things happen in and to our lives. That is reasonable and rational. However, the only real reasons for accidents in life are carelessness and happenstance. Birth defects are a genetically explainable tragedy. It may have been from drug use or the result from a mother falling, etc. Who knows why? We may never know what caused it. But it did not happen for a reason. Most things that happen can be explained. Still, everything does NOT happen for A reason!
Experiences in life can carry a stern warning or a “wake-up call”, but just because we can connect some dots or learn something in the process does not merit the situation to have to take-on the “spiritual voodoo hyperbole” of “it happened for a reason.”
Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the word reason:
1a : a statement offered in explanation or justification <gave reasons that were quite satisfactory> b : a rational ground or motive <a good reason to act soon> c : a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense; especially : something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact <the reasons behind her client’s action> d : the thing that makes some fact intelligible : cause
<the reason for earthquakes> <the real reason why he wanted me to stay — Graham Greene>
2a (1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : intelligence
(2) : proper exercise of the mind (3) : sanity b : the sum of the intellectual powers.
The only connection in all of that that is applicable to “everything happens for a reason” is: “A statement offered in justification.”
The need to justify every event in our lives as meaning something big or spiritual is rooted in the lack of comprehension about the justification we received in Christ over 2000 years ago. The more we understand true spiritual justification, the less we need to spiritualize and justify the events of our daily lives in this New World of God’s Oneness and Christ’s Finished Work.
To every degree one spiritualizes daily life, with distorted views such as “everything happens for a reason” is to the degree that we are failing to acknowledge our true spiritual identity. And when we do that, the last way to describe the mental disposition that arises from that would be logical, vital, and rational.
Even though the statement, what happened is “beyond chance” is not as broad a brush as “everything happens for a reason”, “beyond chance” is at least its kissing-cousin for revealing a vacuum of spiritual vapidity.
Years ago there was a TV show called “Beyond Chance”. It had these wonderful stories. Things like a child born to a mother in Germany fathered by a service man from the United States who never knew his real father. Twenty years later the now grown man moved to the U.S., gets a job, works for a man 10 years only to find out that his boss is his father!
Now I loved that show. The stories were wonderful and even fanciful. But were they “beyond chance”? NOTHING is beyond chance!
During the time I was entertaining these thoughts about reason and chance I was living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Down the three flights of my stairs took me to the sidewalk out on Hanover Street. I lived three blocks from Martha Washington’s house! For me, it was historical heaven. But it was not “beyond chance”. I was living in Virginia. And where had Martha and George lived? Virginia!
One time fifteen minutes after a summer rain I decided to go to the gym which was four blocks away. As I stepped onto the tree-lined historical street, a drop of water hit the bridge of my nose and ran instantly to its tip. Immediately I began thinking what is the chance of that happening? Where did that drop of water come from? (This is how my brain works!)
Most likely that drop of moisture emanated from the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. But really, who knows where it came from. Wherever it started, it was carried for many miles in the clouds and fell over Fredericksburg. It then fell on the tree on the street outside my apartment. Then from leaf to leaf like a game of “Plinko” from the TV game show “The Price is Right”, “miraculously” it hit my nose just as I stepped out of my door at exactly the right time!
A miracle? Everything happens for a reason? Beyond chance? I think not. In fact, I KNOW not!
In the Old World, the World and Covenant before the Cross of Christ, everything was miraculous! Everything happened for a reason! The birth of Jesus, a perfect example, was beyond chance! His mother was a virgin, for God’s sake. God was manipulating and predestinating EVERYTHING!
However, that world’s economy (or the way God transacted business with the human race) produced THIS world. That world was a dictatorship. God dictated everything to the Earth. That would give way to this New World, a world of freedom—for it was for freedom that Christ set us free. This world, and our way of understanding and articulating it, should be affirming that the previous world was indeed real! And because of that one, dominated by God doing miracles, doing things for a reason (ultimately for THE reason—Christ Himself), and doing things beyond chance, that world’s completion is the reason we are now FREE!
We now live in a FREE WORLD, a world of perfect equality. Nothing is predestined anymore for anyone. We wouldn’t be free or equal if God was doing certain things “for a reason” for some or even for one and not for others.
Once again we have discovered that there is a true line drawn between the miraculous and non-miraculous, between chance and beyond chance, between reason and everything happens for a reason. And it is not a “fine-line”. It was a massive, huge, earthquake causing fault-line! As with all things revealed in the Scriptures (Scriptures defined by Christ as the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets only) that line drawn was at the Cross forever!
You might ask, “Okay, Mike Williams, you’re telling me everything is left to chance?”
YES! Chance! The great equalizer! A World of Chance is the ONLY world God could free us all into without us continuing in a mindset and economy of “blessing and cursing”. One can increase ones chances to the positive or negative. However, if you are waiting to be “blessed, chosen, or get your request answered”, you just might miss out on the chance of a lifetime!