Everything Happens for a Reason.

There is a phrase I hear a lot, from both Christians and non-Christians:  Everything happens for a reason. It’s usually said to explain away something bad.

I was a drug addict, but everything happens for a reason.

I was involved in a 2-year long, abusive relationship…but everything happens for a reason.

My husband and I got divorced, but now I’m remarried and happy so everything happens for a reason.

Usually, people go on to talk about how it was all God’s will, or it was all in His plan. And that has always left me feeling a bit confused. You mean, it was God’s will for you to get a divorce? It was God’s will for you to be a drug addict?

No, I’m sorry, but I can’t believe that.  God hates sin, and I don’t think sin is in His perfect plan for my life.

I mean, of course everything happens for a reason, but sometimes that reason is simply our own sin or bad choices (or someone else’s). Sometimes that reason is that we live in a fallen world. Sometimes, we are looking for an answer that just isn’t there. I spent 2 years of my life in an abusive relationship. I still have scars from this relationship, even though I am happily married now to a loving, supportive, understanding, wonderful man.  I don’t think that God led me down that path (in fact, I know He didn’t…but that’s another post). I led myself down that path, but He can redeem it.

God’s word does tell us:

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


Wow! This gives me so much hope. God can redeem all my mistakes, my flaws, my failures.  It doesn’t mean he planned them, or that it was His perfect will for me. But it does mean that if I let Him, He will use all of my mistakes, and all of other people’s mistakes that I’ve been victim to, and He will bring something good out of it.
It means that no matter what Satan tries to throw at me, no matter what “life” throws at me, no matter how much I fail and sabotage myself through sin, He can make all things work together for good.

It doesn’t mean that I was in His perfect will when I made those mistakes, or that it was His plan or reasons that caused them. It just means that it’s another example of His awesome grace and mercy at work.  Because even in those moments when I veer so far off His path that I can’t even see His path anymore, if I just come back to Him, submit submit myself to Him. If I love Him and am called according to His purpose, then He can still redeem even the worst in my life.


  1. Gina says

    Amen….Some of the old “Christian” statements aren’t even Biblical! One that I hear a lot is God is in Control. If that is truth, then we don’t have a free will and a choice. What we chose is what determines our outcome. Thank you for your words of wisdom! Be Blessed

    • Ted says

      This is an extremely tricky area of faith and one I’ve struggled with a lot. God must be in control or i can’t trust that he can save me,yet it’s clearly obvious that I must make choices and they’re not always right. I think the problem is that we forget that God is outside of our limitations of space and time Yes, we make choices out of free will,but God is not bound to wait and see what we’re going to do-he already knows!Our choices only see so important because we want to make the right ones. i think all that matters to Him is that we care what He thinks of our decisions. He already knows everything we will ever do in our lives, good or evil- and He loves us anyway. And maybe he arranged the bad choices, to teach us about His love and mercy, i don’t know. There are many things we won’t know until we meet Him face to face, and I think we need to accept that. But like so many others I want to find out as much as I can until then!So yes I sin, but what I intended for evil , God has used for good. He is in control and according to His promise, nothing in all creation can separate me from His love- not even me! I am thankful for a God i can’t outsmart,because left to my own devices I would surely be lost!

  2. Brittany says

    I completely agree with this post and want to thank you for posting it. Many people are confused about this. The beauty of it all is that God gave us the ability to make decisions and to choose things and that’s what makes Jesus gift to us so special…..we choose salvation. It isn’t anything mandatory and God doesn’t twist our arm to make us do it his way…we can choose! I choose grace from our Almighty God and I pray all of those who read your post do too. It’s all up to us to pray and seek Gods will so we will make the right choices.

  3. says

    Thank you so much for this post!! I used to say this phrase a lot, but after having a child who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, I just can’t see how God would want that for an innocent child. And he doesn’t. In fact, the reason that diseases and illnesses even exist is because of the original sin and Satan!!! So to say everything happens for a reason….. Yes, kind of, like you said. But to say that God is the one behind our hardships probably feels like a slap in the face to him. Praise God that he is merciful and forgiving, that he will lift us up in our weakness. Amen!

    • Crystal says

      Yes, Laura, that’s exactly what I mean…I praise Him that He can still use the brokenness of this world for good, and I praise Him that He has a better plan for all of us who choose to accept it. Thank you.

  4. says

    He won’t always erase the consequences of our bad choices, but what a comfort to know that He is there, wanting us to get into a right relationship with Him. Great post, Crystal!

    • Crystal says

      Absolutely, Meghan! Sometimes we do have to live with the consequences. I guess what I see as a tangible “good” is how He often uses bad experiences in our lives to touch others in a positive way…if that makes sense.

  5. Regina Rudd Merrick says

    I've become very aware of all the trite phrases that we use in Christendom. In fact, I've come to the point that if I don't know the scripture that backs it up, I tend to not say it. I've been guilty of "God is in control," and He is, ultimately, but in a word-search study of "control," I found more instances of the use of that word in such phrases as self-control, or control over another – in other words, human control. We still have to allow Him control over our lives, and that can be hard! Thanks for this, Crystal.

    • Crystal says

      I agree, Regina…I too have started to try to really think about what it is that I am saying. Also, I definitely agree with you. God offers us free-will because He wants us to love Him and serve Him willingly. But, I absolutely believe that He is in control; He is sovereign. When you get right down to it, the only control we have is what he grants us. But we still use it to mess up…lol.

  6. says

    I SO appreciate the truth you’ve shared – sin and it’s consequences are of my choosing, not God’s. But the amazing thing is he can take my sin and redeem it for his purposes. Reminds me of David and Bathsheba – sins of epic proportions and David’s family never fully recovered from the consequences. But God used them to produce Solomon who built the temple. I’m thankful our God doesn’t leave us in our sins!!

  7. says

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you wrote this! I’ve had these same thoughts so many times, even got in an argument with our (then) preacher over it. (notice I said then, he was subsequently let go.)

    All I can say is amen and thanks for stepping out and saying it.

    • Crystal says

      Thanks so much, Beth! It’s funny because I sat down to write about something completely different and this is what came out instead. Must have been the right time to share.

  8. Polya Nazaroff says

    It is so encouraging to me to know that even in hard difficult trying times He is working it ALL for good.

  9. Emily Hockenhull says

    Great post! We do live in a fallen world, and sometimes either we or others do make choices that impact our lives negatively. Such a great reminder, and so encouraging to know that in spite of this, God can and does still work all things together for our good!

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