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.