I had a good conversation with a friend the other day, in which I was telling him about something unfavorable that had happened. I found myself telling him that there must be a reason it was happening, and implied that I should be trying to figure out what that reason is. This is a mindset that many Christians are taught, myself included. We see a bad situation and tell ourselves, or have other people telling us, that God must be doing that for a reason, and we find ourselves then on a hunt for that reason.
There is, however, nothing Biblical about needing to know the reason. We do know in Romans 8:28 that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” But this does not suggest that we are to know the reasons for everything. Looking back to Joseph in Genesis, his brothers sold him into slavery to get rid of him. For many years, he had to deal with living as a slave, being falsely accused and sent to prison. None of it was deserved. It wasn’t until around 20 years later that Joseph met his brothers again and then realized why all of this had happened. The reason remained unknown for 20 years.
There will always be things in life that happen that are difficult to deal with. Our gut reaction may be to start searching for the reason. We feel that if we find that reason, it will help make sense of it and will help us feel better about it. While it is true that knowing the reason would, in many cases, help us deal with the situation, it is an extremely unreliable and subjective thing to count on. There really is no way at all know know with certainty that you’ve discovered the true and comprehensive reason(s) for a situation.
Instead of wasting our resources on searching for a reason, I think God instead prefers that we assess what we do know in a difficult situation, and make the best decisions we can and move forward. Perhaps a reason may surface at some point, but we must move on, reason or not. What we can and need to rely on is the promise that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” There are reasons indeed, and they are for our good, but they may not be for us to know, or we may not find out about them until many years later.