Daily Devotions

Do All Things Happen for a Reason?

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But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

I’ve never be fond of the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” There isn’t a beneficial reason why children get cancer, or a family dies in a car accident. The worst disaster I had to address as a minister was when I was the Protestant Pastor serving at the Memorial Service for an American Eagle Airline Crash. Some families and religious leaders were succumbing to the trite phrases often heard at a funeral. The phrase that bothered me the most that day was, “Everything happens for a reason.”

As a person of faith, I’ve always thought that phrase implied that any awful situation was done by God in order to provide a better purpose. I do not believe the our merciful, grace-filled, all- loving God would kill some in order to bring a better result to others. Rather, in our world of free will, pain is a reality for all of us.

We humans cannot have it both ways. We cannot have free will and then blame God when bad circumstances happen. If we want God to have control, then we cannot complain that we feel like puppets. Therefore, it is incumbent upon each of us to come to terms with the reality that life is not fair and random disasters remain part of the natural order. Yes, God could stop them, but we didn’t want to live in the garden of Eden. We wanted control over our own existence. God gave us what we asked for.

Today, prayerfully ask God to give us the faith to accept what we cannot control. Then, ask God to give us the faith to trust the Divine even in the midst of personal disasters. Seek to trust God in the midst of our hurt. When we stop trying to control and blame God and simply trust God to respond, hope and life eternal will provide meaning for our lives.

The Miracle Question

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When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18)

I keep reading about the challenges of mental illness intensifying during this year of Coronavirus. Alina Muller’s article, “The Miracle Question Used by Psychotherapists” piqued my curiosity. What question can I help individuals face to help ease their discomfort during this time? The miracle question is: “Imagine a real miracle would occur and by complete magic, your problem would be eliminated tonight while you sleep. How would you notice it in the morning when you wake up? How would your day be different? What would you do?”

The expectation is that you imagine the miracle as intensely as possible. What does your day look like the minute you wake up in the morning after the miracle? Imagine your entire day in detail, noticing how the miracle influences the many different aspects of your day. Muller calls us to involve ourselves differently in this challenge. “Rather than defining the problem-which is hard-you are invited to define the change you would like to experience. It is a bit like reverse engineering.”

This reverse engineering works because “it eliminates vagueness” and allows us to see what it is we desire from life. “It makes the problem solvable,” because within the visual, “It contains the solution.” Once we begin to visualize a more positive outlook on life, we are able to move in a direction of hope and healing.

Today, pray for the ability to focus on a positive result in your life and the lives of others. Hope can be in short supply right now. It can be easy to wallow in despair. Ask God to give you the vision to see a positive change in your life, and the courage to act on it. God is able to provide miracles in our lives, but it requires us to move forward in hope, trusting God to guide us to a healthier place in our lives. Begin today by answering the miracle question. If your despair does not improve, be sure to reach out to a mental health professional. They may be part of your divine miracle.

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