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.