Does Everything Happen for a Reason?


Does Everything Happen for a Reason?


Because human beings are already divine, we have the capacity to learn from our worst moments, to find beauty and hope and help for other people when we recover from our struggles.

Everything happens for a reason… or does it?

Spiritual beliefs and religious traditions can help us deal with death and other heartbreaks, and a belief in the “other side” can soothe us when we wonder what happens to our loved ones after they have passed away.

But sometimes these spiritual beliefs betray us. When the worst happens, we can’t make sense of it. It doesn’t fit into God’s plan. It isn’t fair. We may believe everything happens for a reason. But what was the reason for this?

We want to believe that good things happen to good people. That when we act in accordance with God’s rules, we will be loved by God. Or when we place ourselves in alignment with Spirit, we’ll get what we want.

A lot of the time, things do work this way. Most of us are good people acting in alignment with good principles. Setting our intentions does generally bring us closer to our goals.

But these beliefs also give us a sense of control over our lives. When bad things happen to good people—or, specifically, when we ourselves align with goodness and bad things happen anyway—we’re left adrift, feeling abandoned by our gods. Many of us have no choice but to blame ourselves for tragedies. “If only” and “what if” haunt our day-to-day lives. We can’t find a good reason for why something bad happened, so we start to believe we must be bad in some deep, unchangeable way; that we must have deserved this pain. What else could possibly explain it?

“Everything happens for a reason.” We often hear this in spiritual or religious circles. It’s the idea that God works in mysterious ways, that terrible tragedies exist so that we can learn some kind of karmic lesson. And yes, we often do learn deep lessons when we have to go through hard things. Human beings are resilient and are often surprised that we can find joy, hope, or new purpose after the unimaginable.

But being able to find that silver lining also usually requires some resources—a supportive family or community, counseling or other mental health services, basic access to health and wellness needs. Not everyone has that. Is that because they don’t deserve it or because they are bad in some deep way? If we can’t find a reason, have we forever been abandoned by God?

Of course not. Human beings are capable of post-traumatic growth. We do learn things when bad things happen. We often become more compassionate, more empathetic, more present and grateful to the good things we have in life. We become softer, wiser, and kinder, even if our grief never completely goes away.

But that’s not because of some divine plan. There wasn’t a “reason.” Because human beings are already divine, we have the capacity to learn from our worst moments, to find beauty and hope and help for other people when we recover from our struggles. Divine energy is not sitting there devising complex “plans” for some of us to deeply suffer so that we learn things, while others never have to face these kinds of tragedies in their lives.

It isn’t fair. But divine energy isn’t there to be fair. It’s there to be there. To be present always. How we worship and what we believe in doesn’t matter; our spirituality can be an anchor to help us connect with something when we feel lost.

When we relieve the burden of our spirituality to do things for us, we can let go of control and feel our spirituality—always already a part of who we are, always divine, always powerful. We can be with the beauty and the ugliness of our short lives as beings with bodies who can experience love, joy, and pain. We can believe in the human spirit.

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Does Everything Happen for a Reason

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