Friday, March 14, 2014

Does everything happen for a reason?

Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NKJV)

I remember as a preteen having a conversation with my mom about religion, and she brought up this verse. I don't recall the context, but I remember being struck by the hope it seemed to offer.

All things work together for good.

This became my "life verse", a phrase known to many within the Christian faith - a particular verse by which people live their lives, or find their hope, or which somehow plays a significant role. For me, a child with an abusive, alcoholic father, this verse offered me the promise that things would work out for good.

And they did work out for good, for the most part. I managed to grow up to be a mostly emotionally healthy human being, free of most of my father's nasty baggage. I found success where he swore I never would, graduated from college, and made a great life for myself. I did not do this on my own, by any stretch of the imagination, for I had many people on my side and supporting me. But I'm sure they were all part of God's plan to make sure things worked out for good.

Then Aimee died.

This image came off the Facebook
page for The Breast Cancer Site,
literally during the same time I
was writing this post
In the aftermath, I grabbed onto the same hope I always had, that somehow, some way, possibly in a place and time I would never see in this life, this would work out for good.

Now I know not everyone believes as I do. But even many of those who do not subscribe to a particular faith still seem to have a need for this hope. For those who do not consider themselves religious, they might reference this hope by another phrase:

"Everything happens for a reason."

In either case, these words offer us a hope that when something horrible happens to us or a loved one, that there will be a redemption of some sort. That even if wrongs are not made right in this life, or if justice is not truly served here on earth, that somehow whatever happened will work towards some type of positive outcome.

But is that really true? Does everything actually happen for a reason? Does everything work together for good?

I met someone fantastic almost a year after Aimee died, and we're getting married in a few months. But just because things are going well isn't the same as 'all things working out for good'. The fact that I'm marrying a great woman is wonderful, but it doesn't take away my or Rowan's pain from Aimee's death. We will deal with this loss for the rest of our lives. So while you can say we're making the best of our lives - and I'm sure as hell trying to do just that - I'm not sure at this point I can say that it's all worked out for good. Or at least not for more good than what we had before, that's for certain.

Of course, we don't know what might have been if Aimee hadn't died. We don't know what the other road would have looked like. It may be that in fact, her dying on that boat was 'for the good'. It may be that the alternative, maybe cancer, maybe something somehow worse, would have been much harder on all of us, including Aimee.

I guess that's where faith comes in. Whether that faith is in God or karma or whatever, I think we all need that hope that when bad things happen, especially senseless bad things, that somehow the end result is going to be a good one.


  1. Trust Him
    when darkest thoughts
    assail thee.
    Trust Him
    when thy faith
    is small.
    Trust Him
    when to simply
    Trust Him
    is the hardest thing of all.

  2. Thanks Pat I am still struggling, 9 mos later with my relationship ending after 24yrs. This post really hit home. Shelley Monto

  3. I'm not a religious person, though I am somewhat of a spiritual person. I don't believe things happen for a reason, or that they all lead to a greater good. I don't think some higher power lets some people's family members all live to old age, but lets others die young -- I do think it is just the randomness of life. I do believe that the best we can do is move on in a positive direction when bad things happen.