Summary: "Everything Happens For A Reason" seems Biblical... but it's not. Do you know why it's not true? And do you know what God actually teaches about His purpose and promises in our lives?
OPEN: Over the past couple of weeks we've been talking about stupid things that even Christians believe. Of course, these things that people believe don’t seem “stupid” to them at the time. In fact many of these things people believe seem perfectly reasonable… almost Biblical.
And that is particularly true of the statement we’re going to be looking at today.
That statement is: “Everything happens for a reason.”
Have you ever heard someone say that?
Have you ever said it?
I think I may have too.
It sounds almost Biblical… but it’s not.
And we’ll explain why in just a moment.
Now, when people say “everything happens for a reason” they mean well.
What they’re meaning to say is: God takes care of everything in a believer’s life. And since, God takes care of everything then nothing happens by chance. Thus, everything happens for a reason. Everything that happens in your life is ALL part of God’s plan.
ILLUS: Someone who believed this kind of thinking once said to Dr. J. Vernon McGee,
"I have been studying the Bible, and I believe I am absolutely safe in God's hand. No matter what I do, or how dangerous it may be, he is going to protect me. If I stepped out into a busy street against a red light I would be perfectly safe if my time had not yet come."
Dr. McGee replied, “If you are foolish enough to step out into traffic against a red light at the rush hour, brother… your time has come!”
Some time ago I saw a sign on Facebook which said:
“Everything happens for a reason.
Sometimes it’s because you’re stupid and make bad decisions.”
ILLUS: Now, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is relatively harmless until you run into someone who thinks it’s a good thing to say a funeral.
There’s a true story of a woman who was leaving an evening church service and fell down the flight of steps outside the church and broke her hip. She had hip surgery, but instead of healing, she got progressively worse and until - a few short days later – she died.
At the visitation, the preacher stood beside the bereaved husband. And many people came up to the man who’d lost his wife to offer their sympathies.
• Some tried to console the husband: "God must have had a plan for this, so accept it."
• Another said, “It was God’s will and we must live by it."
• Still another said, "Somehow God planned this to test your faith!!"
• And still another said, "There is a silver lining in every cloud. You will find God’s reason behind this eventually."
Do you know what each of those friends was saying?
They were saying: “Everything happens for a reason.”
That almost sounds pious, until you consider the flip side of their meaning:
“Your wife died… because God had planned for her to die.”
Does that sound like a good thing to tell someone?
Of course not!
And the preacher left that funeral home filled with anger. He raged against their "babbling" (as he put it) and he went to the study and rewrote the beginning of his funeral sermon.
The next day, he began his message with these words:
"My God does not push old ladies down church steps!!!"
Then he proceeded to explain that God cannot be blamed or accused for all the brokenness of this world.“If God is the author of death, how, how can He be at the same time the author of life as shown thru the resurrection we celebrate each Sunday…
Is God the God of the living, or the God of the dead? You cannot have it both ways.”
(Tim Zingale, sermoncentral.com speaking of a funeral conducted by the late Maurice "Mo" White)
But now, the question is this: how did people arrive at this kind of thinking?
How could they possibly come to the kind of theology that would imply that God would push little old ladies down church steps?
ILLUS: Back when I attended a secular University, I took several classes in Philosophy. Of all the things I learned in those classes the one concept that made the most lasting impression on me was explained to me by an Assistant Professor.
He told me that the best way to understand how people think something through is to compare it to a mathematical equation.
He explained that most people reason like this:
“Proposition 1: A equals B
Propositions 2: B equals C
Conclusion: Therefore A must equal C”
The professor then explained that by the time people have arrived at their conclusion it is hard to shake their convictions because they believe the conclusion to be the logical outcome of the propositions they started with. Thus, in order to point out where their conclusions were wrong you needed to show where one or more of their propositions were faulty.