Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV) - "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:"
All of us have things happen in our lives that we feel shouldn't have. We all go through times when things seem to be beyond our ability to cope. In those moments, we turn to our Savior for strength and He is faithful to carry us through in victory. Yet, either once the thing has passed or after its initial impact, we often get mired in an attempt to understand the "how we got there?" questions. Depending on the severity of the particular situation, we can be stuck here for some time unfortunately for some, it can be for a lifetime.
In these situations, what we are looking for is the situation's "reason." Why did it happen? There can be value in doing so. It can be helpful to review those unfortunate situations we all face and see what could have been done differently. Could we have done something different to avoid going through that particular challenge? Or if not avoided, perhaps it could have been lessened somehow? Looking for a "reason" is not necessarily a bad thing. But why do some get stuck here? Why does this potentially healthy effort lead us to get stuck at one particular point in time, unable to move forward?
One thing we need to accept is that there are situations that arise in life that are "unreasonable." We all experience times when the situation that arose was unfair or the thing someone did to you was wrong. In those times, expending too much energy in search for "reason" can lead you no where. You're trying to find "sense" in a situation that is "non-sense."
I'm not sure if this next statement will make you feel any better but God doesn't promise us that everything we face in life will have a reason or make sense. Most of us know that many simply will not. Yet, what the scripture I have used here does promise us is that each one of those times, no matter how painful, can have "purpose!" Reason/Purpose what's the difference?
Essentially, when you are looking for a reason, you are looking back. You are going back to and through a situation and trying to analyze what happened, how it started, and how (if possible) it could have been different. But if we are honest, when we look back, we are often looking for something more. The dictionary definition of "reason" is "the basis or cause, the justification or explanation of a belief or action." I draw your attention to the one word here that represents where we most often get stuck "justification." We're often not looking for "why did something happen?" but "why did it have to happen?" That is something different. You can waste a lifetime trying to find the "reason" for a situation that was "unreasonable" trying to make "sense" out of something that is simply "non-sense."
But God offers us something better. We are told that while many of the things we go through may be wrong, unfair, should never have happened, and should be avoided, they can still have a purpose. In fact, this scripture assures us that there is a purpose (not a reason) for everything under Heaven. The Apostle Paul told the church at Rome that, " we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28 NKJV). What a promise! Going back to the dictionary, the definition for "purpose" is "an intended or desired result, an aim or goal."
What we can see quickly is that in purpose, you are not looking back but forward. With purpose, we're more focused on where can it bring you from here rather than how did we get here. Paul's encouragement to us is that while not every situation we go through is good, they all can "work out" for good (the essential difference between "reason" and "purpose"). And yet, the criteria here is that this promise is given simply "to those who love God!" When we place our lives in His hands, He will take the injustices that come our way and use it to work out a purpose that brings glory to His name.
It begins with following the Apostle Peter's advice, "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV). Spending your life looking back and trying to find "justification" for wrongs done to you is a dead end exercise. But placing your pain and hurt in the Master's loving care will release His power to use it to form and shape it into a mighty purpose. It will also give you the ability to leave it behind and move forward in freedom and victory.
So, we have reason or purpose looking back or looking forward? Do you really want to stay stuck or does freedom sound pretty good?
Hiram Claudio is a minister and bible teacher who has traveled to 8 nations spreading the Good News of faith in Christ and victory through His name. He is married (for 29 years). He and his wife live in New York and have two sons.