You know the cliche. I'm sure you've heard it said or even uttered it yourself. "Everything happens for a reason." Lots of people who have no idea what else to say use this cliche to try to comfort themselves or others in times of loss and indecision.
Rewind to about two and a half years ago. We had been trying on our own to get pregnant for over a year, probably more like 2. We had actually not been using birth control pills for more than 5 years. At that point, we started opening up to friends and family about our situation. Donnie and I are pretty transparent when it comes to being real about what is happening in our lives. Then we started to hear suggestions about fertility treatments and adoption. Repeatedly through the months that we didn't get pregnant, people used the cliche that I have grown to hate, "Everything happens for a reason." Really???
In the fall of 2007, a friend at work mentioned that she had a friend that was trying to find a family to adopt her unborn son. We agreed to meet her and got to know her fairly well. She wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do, but we prayed for her and tried to support her as we felt like God was showing us to. The conversation quickly stopped after we started talking with a lawyer about how to proceed should she want to give us her baby. She quit calling. It wasn't until November of that year that I received a phone call from my friend saying that she was in the hospital and that she wanted me to come. She was twenty-three weeks away from her due date and something was wrong. I arrived that night and caught just a small glimpse of what life was like for this girl. Her mother was there and everything that this woman said focused on herself. How sick she felt, how late it was and how she needed to get home to sleep. Nothing about how her daughter was doing or feeling. And her daughter was in labor... 23 weeks early, in labor. She had an infection that was fighting against the baby and the baby was coming. After more than 12 hours of holding her hand, praying for her, and comforting her, I held that tiny fragile little body who had the chance to live for a few months in his mother's womb. After that experience I again heard, "Everything happens for a reason." Really???
After that, Donnie and I had been trying fertility treatments to get pregnant. With a low sperm count on the radar ,the doctor suggested in vitro. Guess what, my hormones didn't respond correctly to the procedure. And again, "Everything happens for a reason." Really people???
Just this week, another terrible tragedy happened to some friends of ours. Their teenage son was killed in a car accident near their home. Two other people were seriously injured and are in the hospital. This kid had a bright future. He was friends with all different kinds of people in school - athletes, musicians, academics. He was a person who believed inn God and showing kindness to others. His parents and siblings are equally awesome people and live their lives in the same way. They are hurting more than I can understand. And guess what I've heard again, "Everything happens for a reason."
You know, I don't think people think about what they are actually communicating when they say that phrase. To me it suggests that some cause is happening behind all of this mess in order for a greater purpose to be realized. Like God is making it happen to teach a lesson or to bring about some divine intervention to get our attention, or to punish or reward us with something better. I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree. i don't believe that God sits up on his big throne in heaven and thinks of terrible things to happen to the creation that he loves. I also don't like looking at life as a series of cause and effects where one thing sucks so that another can bring joy. I just don't believe that way.
I believe that God's people can bring love into situations where love is absent.
That young mother needed someone who could comfort and love her when her baby was still born. There wasn't a reason for the baby to die. God is love, not pain. He didn't cause it, but he worked within the terrible pain.
I also believe that healing can come after horrible disappointment.
When we adopted our son, I wondered about this phrase "Everything happens for a reason" thinking it might be true. But just because we have a son to love, I still don't think that God ordered all of the terrible things to happen to bring us to that point. We were healed by the birth of our son. It caused us to keep on in our faith and life of love for others.
And I believe that if you love God, your life can communicate love to others, even after you die.
Andrew Hurd will be remembered for the way he lived his life. For the love he showed to others and the faith that he had. He will be remembered for showing kindness even though others didn't and maybe his example will cause someone else to know and love God the way he did.
No, I DON'T for one second believe that "Everything happens for a reason." Love happens for a reason. The reason it happens is because God first loved us and because of His love, we can't help but show it to others and help and heal when painful tragedies happen.