People say this a lot, but usually without much thought. No one really stops and considers what "everything happens for a reason" means. Some credit things like fate or karma, or luck or chance, but to say it’s God? For some, that is going too far.
Why is this happening?
In Ecclesiastes 3:1, King Solomon had written, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." He added there is "a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted," and so on.
Knowing there’s a specific time for all things to take place, then obviously there’s a reason as well. When trials come, one of the first things a person wants to know is why is this happening. No matter where a person is or what is going on in their lives, there is a purpose for it – one that was designed by God.
"Every child of God is where God has placed him for some purpose," Charles Spurgeon once said, "and the practical use of this first point is to lead you to inquire for what practical purpose has God placed each one of you where you now are?"
One purpose for being in a certain place at a certain time would be similar to Christ going to Samaria to talk with the woman at the well. It could be you’re meant to be a witness to someone, so God sent you to your own Samaria. A deeper, less obvious reason might have to do with a Christian’s current spiritual state, backsliding for instance, or it could be your faith is being tried like Job’s had been.
Whatever the reason, God is the only one who can reveal the true answer. If He has placed you or a loved one in a difficult situation, even if you don’t understand right now, God’s purpose is still being accomplished even as the questions continue to circle in your mind.
There’s a saying people use, "If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it." He never does anything in part; it’s always from beginning to end with Him. Trust that He will see you through it all, and He will.
"As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." (Psalms 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31)
This is for my good?
The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
For those who are called by God, we have this assurance that whatever our situation might be, not only is there a purpose for it happening, it is also for our good. In some way, whether today or in the days to come, there will be good that follows.
One example would be the story of Elijah and the widowed woman. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, you can read more about it in 1 Kings 17. To give a brief summary, this woman was in a small town, gathering sticks for what she thought would be the last meal for her and her son. She believed this would be it, she and her son would eat, then lay down to die. What she didn’t know was on this same day she thought was her last, The Lord was sending help to her by way of Elijah.
With the arrival of Elijah came a survival for him, for her, and for her house. And all was done by divine decree. God did the sending, He did the providing, and He did the strengthening. If the widow hadn’t been preparing for her and her son’s last meal, she wouldn’t have been gathering sticks at that particular spot, at that particular time when Elijah came by. And if she hadn’t been there in that place and time, all that followed wouldn’t have. The Lord placed her where she needed to be, and He sent Elijah where he needed to be. All things worked together for good for both of them.
Even when you think you’re about to eat your last meal, God can intervene and make you never take another meal for granted for the rest of your life. That is what it means to say everything happens for a reason. It’s remembering that God is the one with the real plan, not us – and not "fate" or "karma."
"And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35)