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Summary: Bad things happen. While God is still in charge, not everything that happens in our lives is good.

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Series: Mythbusters

“Everything Happens for a Reason”

Romans 8:28

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been in a series of messages called Mythbusters. We’re focusing in on spiritual myths – we’ve also called them spiritual urban legends. These myths or legends are based on false understandings of scripture and they always lead you down the wrong path.

This morning, we’re going to look at a spiritual urban legend – a spiritual myth – that is

pervasive and persistent. It’s one that usually comes up in the midst of a tragedy, a difficult time, a death or a loss, a breakup or a divorce.

Have you ever had something bad happen to you and people come to you with good intentions – they mean well, they’re trying to be helpful – and they say things like: “God must be up to something.” Or “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Or “You must be very special for God to trust you with this.” Or “This is a blessing in disguise. It’s an essential part of God’s great and wonderful plan for your life.” Or “Isn’t it good to know that everything happens for a reason?”

The words vary but the message is always the same: Someday you’ll be glad this happened. That’s the spiritual myth for today: everything happens for a reason.

I’ve noticed that none of those who are so quick to proclaim your difficulty a blessing seem eager to get blessed the same way in their own life. In one sense, they’re on the right track. No matter what happens, God is in control. He is the King of the universe and he is good.

However, that doesn’t mean He’s the direct cause of everything that happens. It doesn’t mean that everything that happens is something He wants to happen. And it certainly doesn’t mean that everything that God allows is good.

God did not cause Lucifer to rebel. He didn’t cause Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He didn’t cause David to sleep with Bathsheba. He didn’t cause Cain to kill Abel, the tower of Babel to be built or force the crowd to cry out for Barabbas. He didn’t coerce the Roman soldiers into killing Jesus. Those who carried out these evil deeds bear full responsibility for their own actions. They can’t blame God. Adam tried. It didn’t fly.

Misunderstood Verse

It all begins with a misunderstood verse. Where did we come up with such an idea – that everything happens for a reason? Like most spiritual myths, it comes from a combination of wishful thinking and a twisted interpretation of a few key Scriptures. In this case, one verse in particular gets the spotlight - that verse is Rom. 8:28.

No other verse gets misquoted as often when it comes to trying to make sense out of life’s trials. It’s the favorite proof text for the “everything-is-good—if-you-wait-long-enough” crowd. It’s plastered on coffee mugs, posters, greeting cards, and all kinds of Jesus junk. It sounds good. It sells well. But Rom. 8:28 doesn’t say or mean what most people think it does. It doesn’t even apply to a large percentage of those who turn to it for comfort.


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