This week: Everything happens for a reason

 

– ever heard that?

– ever said that?

 

– we usually say or hear this when there’s been some sort of tragedy or disappointing circumstance; and we want to comfort the sufferer – by giving the difficult situation some sort of meaning or significance – if it happened for a reason, then it’s not wasted, or at least means it wasn’t all for nothing;

– your boyfriend dumped you? Well, everything happens for a reason.. I’m sure an even greater guy is just around the corner

– you lost your job? Surely God has an even better job for you!

– you didn’t get into the degree you wanted? Maybe God was saving you from wasting 4 years.

– but does this really help the parents who’ve lost a child? The guy who just found out his cancer is terminal? The family driven from their home due to war? Or the city wiped out by earthquake?

 

– and of course, in one sense everything DOES happen for a reason – in that it has a cause – Newton’s 1st law of motion: an object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it – so everything happens because something caused it to happen.. (you broke your leg because you crashed your car/you have no money because you spent it all, etc)

 

But that’s not what we’re talking about today.. We mean the existential ‘everything happens for a reason’ (people don’t use this phrase to remind people that their predicament had a cause.. They’re trying to encourage)

 

 

What’s the problem with this?

– it’s just not in the bible!!

– sometimes things significantly suck

– when you break an arm, and can’t work

– when your car breaks down and you miss an important interview

– when your wife has yet another miscarriage

– when disease, flood, fire, earthquake, tsunami, war, or famine strike

– when you find out your mum just died

– etc..sometimes things are crap through nothing of your doing.. There’s nothing you could have done differently, and there’s nothing to make the situation better

 

 

So, where does this phrase come from?

– a. From Plato

 

But in our case also:

 

– b. A misinterpretation of Romans – 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.

– isn’t that it then? Everything happens for a reason?

 

– but what happens when we look at that passage in context?

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 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. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

 

– so, what is God working all things together for? You conforming to the image of His son – which is your greatest good!

 

When we hear ‘everything happens for a reason, we look to our circumstances, future circumstances, for our salvation, to save us from how we feel, to a better job, to better health, to a better relationship, to an easier life… But God wants you to look to Him, where you’ll find your greatest joy.

 

 

Why the truth is better:

 

 

  1. We’re in this predicament because the world is under a curse because of sin!

– we don’t need to go looking for meaning in our suffering, when ‘because sin’ really works well in all occasions. This world is fallen, the ground cursed, bad things are going to happen because of sin.

– don’t underestimate how powerful this perspective is in shaping how you go through suffering.

– it’s better because Jesus has promised that if we share in His sufferings, we’ll also share in His inheritance!! Eternal life, eternal relationship with Him!

 

  1. God has already come to deal with the sinful state of man

– It’s not karma (because of Jesus, good things happen to bad people☺️)

– It’s not judgement (Jesus has born the full judgement for your sin.. Nothing is held against you any longer; past, present, or future.. Because God is a just God, and doesn’t punish two for the one offence)

– it’s Grace. For you. In your suffering, and in your good circumstance… That God forever and only has your absolute best interest in mind with EVERYTHING He sends or allows you to go through.

 

  1. Jesus is coming again to bring about a new heaven and new earth, undoing the effects of the curse.

– this is great news!

 

these all mean:

 

  1.  bad things happen, and it’s tough!

– we don’t need to try to deny these bad things happen

– don’t need to concoct a clever ‘reason’ for why it’ll bring about better circumstances somehow.

– Jesus promised us hardship

– they are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory!

 

1 Cor 4 – “But we have this treasure in pjars of clay, qto show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are rafflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but snot forsaken; tstruck down, but not destroyed; 10 ualways carrying in the body the death of Jesus, vso that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So wdeath is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have xthe same spirit of faith according to what has been written, y“I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that zhe who raised the Lord Jesus awill raise us also with Jesus and bbring us with you into his presence. 15 For cit is all for your sake, so that as dgrace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, eto the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. fThough our outer self4 is wasting away, gour inner self his being renewed day by day. 17 For ithis light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 jas 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.”

 

– the testing of your faith culminates in perfection

 

James 1 “you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

 

– God both sends, and allows what we in he natural perceive as troubles and hardship so that you will be perfect.

 

– Joni Eareckson Tada says, “Every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened to us. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials that he sent us here.”

 

–  Charles Spurgeon, who struggled with depression all of his life and died of gout and Bright’s disease at age 57. He said, “It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.”

 

 

  1. because you belong to Jesus, God DOES have your best in store for you

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28)

– this might not look like what you want it to

– this might cost you your life

– if these things sound contradictory, it’s because you still have your comfort as your greatest end, not your Joy, which God wants for you.

 

  1. God gives you, and allows to happen to you, only things that you would ask for if you had the knowledge of God – for your holiness, your joy, your Christlikeness, to reveal idols, for your perfection.

 

  1. Sometimes there is no earthly, circumstantial reason for your suffering… it isn’t going to end well, but in every situation Jesus Himself has promised to never leave you, to refine you through your suffering, and to make something out of everything for your GOOD!

 

  1. God is making us like Jesus, working for our good, growing us in perseverance, and teaching us! Don’t forget learn whatever it is He’s showing you in every situation. Don’t waste your suffering.

 

 

So, surely everything does happen for a reason; in that it has a cause, but better than something better circumstancialy happening because that bad thing happened… God will use everything that happens to you, if you’d just pursue Him and not circumstance, for your greatest joy.

 

 

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