I think it’s safe to say that modern Christianity is full of clichés.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, these “Christian clichés” are even more prominent in our society than the hard truth that Christianity often brings. Right?
We take Bible verses out of context in order to make them more comfortable, we tiptoe around truths and walk on eggshells rather than defending the truth we say we’re firmly grounded in.
I’d argue the biggest of these is the idea that “everything happens for a reason”. Listen, friends. That is a load of crap.
Your friend, your loved one, your child did not die for “a reason”. You didn’t get cancer, get injured, lose your job, go bankrupt or experience domestic abuse because God was trying to teach you a lesson. Your child didn’t get caught up in addiction so that God could create a better parent out of you. Your parents didn’t get divorced because God knew the pain would make you stronger on the other side.
We tell ourselves “everything happens for a reason” in situations like these in order to justify the fact that God is all-knowing and all-powerful. This phrase is the broken record we as Christians seem to keep on playing, even though it’s detrimental to the way we view God.
To hold firmly to this chiché in these situations means we also believe that God orchestrated our current situation of pain.
And that, friends, is just plain false.
We cannot believe that we serve a God of everlasting love, bountiful affection and providence for us if we believe he wields tragedy in our lives in order to teach us. We are either believing one or the other, but simply can’t have both.
So then, as we search for the replacement to our favorite cliché, what answers remain?
What’s the “reason”?
The “reason” all these horrible things happen is that we live in a fallen world. A broken world, separated from the original vision of the Father. We live in a world of pain and frustration and fear and shame and violence- all things that are not of God. A world where sin has infected and twisted and tainted every part of God’s perfection. It corrupts hearts, fuels temptation and allows the wicked to prosper.
That’s your reason.
It’s not because God is small or petty or needs the help of wickedness in order to make His goodness known. There is a huge difference in his ability to create beauty from ashes and thinking he needs the ashes in the first place.
Jesus feels your pain right with you. He walked the earth with a fully human heart. He experienced sickness, brokenness, temptation, rejection, death, betrayal, starvation and fear. He wasn’t exempt from those things but was right there in the mess.
He chose the cross when he could have turned away. He pushed through the discomfort so that WE can know that there is more. So that we can know that the pain of this world is not where it stops.
He did it for you.
He never promised it would be easy because He experienced first hand that it wouldn’t be. He did, however, promise that we’d never have to do it alone. It’s hard. It sucks. But the good news is you’re not alone and neither am I.
Jesus is still in your boat with you. The storm will calm, the morning is coming.
In the meantime, start by finding some reasons to be happy. Find some. I promise there are lots. A favorite of mine is flowers. C’mon, they’re a physical representation of happiness. Not about it? Find yours. Leave them in the comments if you’re feelin’ it. Or don’t. You won’t hurt my feelings either way.
featured image by @ktnewms