New York City
He’s an Albanian Atheist, and he is one of my best friends…
We were having breakfast just the other day; he was describing difficult events from his life that looking back on today, he’s thankful for. He’s thankful, because in spite of the pain he may have been forced to endure, those events have helped shaped him into the man that he is today.
He said, “You know, I believe everything has happened for a reason.”
Everything has happened for a reason. This is such a seemingly innocent statement and one we hear in many different places throughout life. From certain religious circles that believe God has pre-ordained every action of this earth to the Eastern idea of karma or the Western take on karma, often known only as “What goes around comes around”; we live in a world that is okay with saying that everything happens for a reason. Not only though are we okay with saying it, I really think that we believe it.
If it’s true though and everything does happen for a reason… what does that mean for life on planet earth?
When my atheistic friend finished stating the above, I was quickly on his case. “No way,” I said, playing the devil’s advocate. “If there is no God and we’re just random cells, there is no way that some things in our lives ever happen for a particular reason…. Unless you possibly are referencing that the reason is to somehow to advance our species; is that what you mean?”
But of course, that is not what he meant. My friend is intelligent and he has realized that all things cannot be purely by coincidence alone. We do learn certain lessons in life at just the right time and we do often grow from things right before something harder seems to hit. Many times, things in life move in such a way that it seems there has to be some other-worldly force behind it. As a follower of Jesus I can attest to the fact that I believe God is involved with His creation and sometimes He moves in ways that are more noticeable to us than others. I believe what Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians about Jesus, that all things “are held together by Him.”
But my friend, he doesn’t believe in God and this question of how some things happen for a reason is difficult to answer.
But it’s important to answer.
Why we believe something is true is as important as the belief itself.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
I believe that my wife loves me, but I can only believe it because I know why I know it. I may not know exactly why she chooses to love me, but I do know that she does. I know that my wife loves me because she affirms me, she works with me, she talks with me and grows with me. I know that she loves me because she listens to me and makes me tasty food; she allows me to get close to her and she tells me secrets that only I can know. I know why I believe my wife loves me.
And here’s an example closer to our topic:
I believe that sometimes things do happen for a special “divine” reason. I may not know exactly how, but I do know that sometimes they do happen. I know that sometimes things happen for a reason because I see in the Bible that God wants to be involved with His creation and because He hears us when we call to Him (1st John 5). I know that things happen for a reason because I’ve experienced too many coincidences to assume they are coincidental. I know that things sometimes happen for a reason because I believe that as God’s creation we are intimately connected in some way to Him. I know why I believe that God is sometimes more noticeably involved with the affairs of man.
After I posed that three lettered question (why?) to my friend about his beliefs, he admitted as he had once previously that he does believe in some “outside force”. He won’t give it a name though, whether karma, God, a spirit, or the boogie monster instead preferring to simply leave it as “something out there”.
He’s now asked the question and that’s what is important; he needs to seek what is True.
If we want to be seekers to truth; we need to seek Truth.
If we want to lead others to the truth, we need to ask questions that help them start seeking as well.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mathew 7:7)