Few statements upset me more than the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason”—especially because I always hear people use this statement in reference to God after they were persecuted in some kind atrocious way by Satan. I always respond, “Yeah, it did happen for a reason—and that reason was not God!”
God does not want credit for the horrible things that happen to you. We already know where such things belong—it’s with the enemy that seeks to kill and destroy, not with Jesus who gives life abundant (Jn 10:10). The last thing God wants is for you to look at something the enemy did and attribute it to Him, creating a demented view of God’s love in the process.
Again, we could say that all things happen for a reason, but we cannot say that the reason all things happen is because of God. This kind of false thinking is deep inside of a lot of people—even healthy Christians who have since recovered from the atrocities committed against them. I’ve heard many people claim that God allowed bad things to happen to them so that they could help others who went through similar bad things. But I think this, too, is a misunderstanding.
Paul tells us that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Ro 8:28), so we should understand that even our horrible stories of oppression and persecution can be redeemed by God to do good in the end. But His redemption of a bad situation doesn’t mean that the bad situation was His doing. Rather, we can remain secure in the fact that God can redeem otherwise unredeemable moments and teach us to forgive people for the otherwise unforgivable things they do to us.