Why “Everything Happens for a Reason” Isn’t Completely True

    Job loss.

    The death of a friend.

    Financial crisis.

    A heart-wrenching breakup.

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “Everything happens for a reason.” But does it? For me to even pose that question might make some Christians uncomfortable, but it’s something we have to address. For those in the throes of grief, this platitude is hardly comforting. It’s also hard to believe in a loving, good God when death, pain and grief are part of His plan.

    It’s important to make a distinction between what’s a cultural platitude that we tell the grieving and what’s actually biblical about God. Is God sovereign? Yes. Does God know what will happen? Yes.

    But does God plan pain for us? The Bible gives us the answer.


    Sin has marred a perfect world

    The world we know today was never God’s intention, and this is important to grasp. Genesis 1-3 reveals that God intended this world to be perfect. It was meant to be a place of beauty, rest and unity. But sin has marred a perfect world. We now live in a place where death, sickness and heartbreak greet us. This is not what God wanted, nor what He wants today. But it is what mankind chose, and into this world God sent a perfect Son—the only Person who could provide us a hope beyond the pain.

    The book of Job is a great illustration of how pain faces us, sometimes senselessly, but never comes from God Himself. When Job is tried with loss, sickness and pain, it’s because of the Enemy. God permits the Enemy to test Job, but God Himself does not cause it. His reason? To show Job’s faithfulness and God’s glory.

    Our pain doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always have a tangible reason. But it can bring life to many around us.


    The “reason” may not numb the pain

    Even when there is a reason for our grief and difficulty—a reason revealed later on—it doesn’t always numb the pain. I had four breakups before I met my husband. Each one was harder than the last. While I see now the multiple reasons those relationships had to end, it doesn’t remove the twinge of sadness I have in my heart for hurting those people (or being hurt by them).

    Knowing that God has a purpose is good. It offers us an eternal perspective. But it’s okay if you still hurt about it.


    Everything happens…and everything will be redeemed

    Pain and grief will face us. Job loss is scary. Miscarriage and infertility are heart-crushing. But our hope beyond loss and grief and the grave is in our Redeemer: the One who will make all things right in the end. All the things we felt were unfair or too much for us will be reconciled by His justice and His grace. What a hope we have! Eternally, our lives will fall into place. There will be a reason for the pain, even if we don’t know it now.

    Does everything happen for a reason? Yes and no. The reason may be something we don’t understand now. But we can trust that our Redeemer will make something beautiful from our ashes. He is not the one to run from, but the one to run to, and in coming to Him we find peace in the grieving.

    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva.


    1. “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
      and there is no god beside me;
      I kill and I make alive;
      I wound and I heal;
      and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.“
      Deuteronomy 32:39

      “I form light and create darkness;
      I make well-being and create calamity;
      I am the Lord, who does all these things.”
      Isaiah 45:7

      “The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
      even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
      Proverbs 16:4

      “Who has spoken and it came to pass,
      unless the Lord has commanded it?”
      Lamentations 3:37

      “all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
      and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
      and among the inhabitants of the earth;
      and none can stay his hand
      or say to him, “What have you done?””
      Daniel 4:35

      “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

      “remember the former things of old;
      for I am God, and there is no other;
      I am God, and there is none like me,
      declaring the end from the beginning
      and from ancient times things not yet done,
      saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
      and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”
      Isaiah 46:9-10

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