“Everything happens for a reason”. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before or maybe you’ve said it yourself. I’ve definitely held onto that saying in hard times. A lot of people don’t agree with or like the saying. When tragedy strikes, they can’t wrap their minds around how something so tragic can have any kind of good reason for happening or have anything good come from it.
Personally, I think there is a lot of truth in it. I know that I love God with everything that is in me. I know that in Romans 8:28, God says that He’ll, “… work all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” I like to read out of my NIV Application Bible when I read. There are footnotes at the bottom of the page that sometimes dive further into what a verse says. Here is what it says about this verse:
“God works in all things –not just isolated incidents- for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around us for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed by only those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Those who are “called” are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set on life. They trust in God, not life’s treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.”
I don’t know about you, but this brings me tremendous comfort in the things that I go through. I know that I love God and am called by Him. Therefore, I know that everything that happens to me, happens for a reason. God will work in any situation.
Let me give you an example: this past December, my mom was set to go have lunch with her mom and step-dad. They had not always seen eye-to-eye on most things, but they were on good terms. The day that they were planning on having lunch (Monday the 5th) my grandma had a stroke. There was a blood clot in her brain and they operated on her to try to remove the clot. She made it through the surgery and the doctors were confident that she would make it. This hope was short-lived. The next day, we learned that her condition was deteriorating and she wouldn’t make it much longer. That afternoon, I got a text from my mom who was at the hospital with her mom saying that there wasn’t anything that the doctors could do. I was in the middle of teaching an English lesson to one of my middle school classes when I got the text. I read the text, but didn’t focus on it in order not to break down in the middle of class. Class ended and it was time for lunch. That was the hardest part of that day. I had time to sit and think about what was happening. My grandma was not a Christian and had rejected Jesus multiple times throughout her life. It was heartbreaking to think that she would probably die without accepting Jesus into her life. I was a mess. My coworkers (who are amazing) stood with me in prayer that she would somehow accept Christ. After the school day ended, I talked with my mom and knew that I should encourage her to talk to her mom about Jesus. I couldn’t do it. It took a lot to hold myself together just talking about her condition; there was no way that I could tell her to talk to her about Jesus. So, after I hung up with my mom, I called my sister, Deborah. Deborah had the same thing in her head as I did. She and I talked about it and we decided that Deborah should text our mom to encourage her to share Jesus with our grandma. When we hung up, Deborah sent the text. The time that my mom got the text, everyone who was in my grandma’s hospital room had just left and it was just my mom and her mom alone in the room. It was a God-thing. My grandma was conscious at this point, but she was paralyzed for the most part. My mom was able to lead her mom to Christ in that hospital room! I get chills just typing it. My grandma, who had never really considered a relationship with Christ, was able to wiggle her toe and accept Jesus in her hospital bed! That was definitely the best news that I’ve received up to this point in my life! We knew that no matter what happened, we’d see her in Heaven again one day. A couple of days later, my grandma passed away peacefully.
Now, why did I tell you this story? I told it because God used something as tragic as my grandma having a stroke to do a few things; 1). Bring glory to His name, 2). Bring my grandma to accept Him into her life, and 3). Strengthen the faith of everyone who heard the story. I would love for my grandma to still be here with us, but I’m SO thankful that she is with Jesus and that I will see her again.
When a caterpillar goes into a cocoon, it might be scared or even think it’s about to die. But as it waits patiently inside of it’s small, dark, temporary home, it grows. Eventually, when it’s time, it comes out of the dark place and has turned into a beautiful butterfly. I think we can learn a lot from this. Even though a situation might be new, scary, dark, or make you feel like you won’t last much longer, know that at the right time, God will bring you out of that situation as a someone who has grown and learned new things.
I know that it’s hard to think of positive things happening when someone you love passes away unexpectedly, when you get bad new from a doctor, when natural disasters happen, when relationships are broken apart, or when you don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent for the next month. It’s hard to think that God is going to do things through unbelievably hard times. I firmly believe that God will use those hard times to further His Kingdom and to help us grow. Through those hard times, we as believers grow closer to Jesus and rely on Him to get us through those hard times. When we get through those hard times, we are closer to God and stronger than we imagined we would be.
If everything didn’t happen for a reason, tragic things would be just that: tragic. There would be no light at the end of the tunnel in a lot of situations.
Let me encourage you; if you love God, God will use the hard things that you go through for good. It might not make sense at the time, but God’s plans are always better than ours. God’s ideas of the way that things should be are better than we can dream them up.