Except I don't believe that. I really don't. It sounds nice and I think those are supposed to be words of comfort. And maybe if I gain all God's wisdom after I die, I'll look back and understand all the reasons for things. But right now, I don't actually think everything happens for a reason.
At least not a good one.
I have folks around me suffering. People I know and love are fighting cancer and disease, losing children, being abused, starving to death, falling into the disease of addiction. I lost my dad to a couple of those things just a few short months ago.
The only reason I can come up with for that is that this world is broken.
But don't get me wrong. I believe God can use all things for good. And that's why I have hope in the midst of this messed up, wrong world. I don't believe God's will is for mothers to lose babies, for women to be raped, for children to be abandoned, for the disease of addiction to tear families apart. But he calls us to love - to love the mothers who have lost children and to grieve with them; to fight for the oppressed and help abused women regain their sense of value, to be families for children who need them, to extend a hand to the addict to help them to recovery. To be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I think our calling to be peace-makers and justice-fighters and care-givers doesn't provide the reason why things happen. It just tells us what to do in the face of such brokenness.
So while I don't believe everything happens for a reason I do have hope. I have hope that when things go awry in my life I know the One who can bring peace. I have hope that when I visit starving families in Swaziland that they can know the One who brings them joy. I don't serve because I think I can fix all the problems. I do it because one day there will be no hunger, no despair, no fear, no sickness. Every time I feed someone who is hungry or grieve with someone who is suffering I proclaim the day when that will no longer happen, when God returns and everything is restored.
Maybe everything doesn't happen for a reason, but I can be a reason there's a little less suffering in this world. And right now, that's enough for me.