Christians ought to stop using the phrase "Everything happens for a reason" to comfort people going through tough times and instead say that each event can be used by God for a certain purpose, according to a pastor and author based in Nashville, Tennessee.
In an op-ed published on Church Leaders on March 13, Pastor Jarrid Wilson said he does not believe that everything happens for a reason. However, he believes what is written in Romans 8:28 is that God can use each experience for a certain purpose.
Pastor Wilson explains that the world is full of sinners who need Jesus Christ's grace. Citing 1 John 1:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:1, he said God allows certain bad things to happen but not everything is of God's doing.
Wilson listed down several bad experiences that people might go through, including a father's death from cancer, a stillborn child, an accident caused by a drunk driver, child abuse, murder, rape and depression. Instead of saying that these things happen for a reason, the pastor said that Christians can instead say that God can use a person's testimony from these experiences for redemption.
Like Pastor Wilson, Interfaith Ambassador and spiritual teacher Dr. Steve McSwain also does not believe that everything happens for a reason. In an opinion piece on The Huffington Post on March 17, he admitted that he used that phrase before just to avoid the painful fact that bad things sometimes happen for no apparent reason.
Dr. McSwain recalled how he read the story of Job in the Old Testament and realized that the character never got an answer to his question on why he experienced horrible things in his life. Citing another book called "Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son" by humanists Tony and Bart Campolo, McSwain said a person should stop wondering about the reason for life's difficulties and instead "live into each difficulty."
McSwain also said there may be some experiences that cannot be fully explained, but living through the difficulties can help a person realize that God has not left them through those times.
God can take our pain, our brokenness, our frustrations and our failures, and use them as the testimonies in which we help others.— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) March 11, 2017