The great platitudinal prayer of our time is “Everything happens for a reason.”
It offers the grandly inclusive and non-specific subject “everything,” the blanketing verb “happens”, and a twaddling prepositional phrase of modernist intellectual obeisance, “for a reason.” Strangely – and really for no “reason” whatsoever – the phrase dominates generic, quasi-faith, public attempts to face worldly calamity with a whimsical, faux-spiritual sense of higher, abiding, and comforting peace.
“It’ll be OK. Everything happens for a reason.”
While the phrase implies “God’s will,” at heart it is a soft bromide vaguely affirming the possibility of God and salvation but without the encumbrance of admitting faith specifics. “Specifics” would include intellectually and faithfully proclaiming that there is a serious, real, willful Lord God Creator Almighty in Heaven Who sent His son Jesus Christ to restore the glory of our human relationship with the divine, and Who issued forth the Holy Spirit to illuminate the divine truths of eternal love and salvation.
That, I think, is God’s will. That endorses powerful faith. That is truth. That subordinates reason to the lesser, earthly, fallen realm of “proof.”
Faith and reason, you see, are both intellectual functions but are not the same things. Treating them as such constitutes what theologians and philosophers call a “category mistake”, or what the rest of us might call “mixing apples and oranges.”
Christian faith in an abiding, relational God is something God cleverly avoids allowing to be reduced to the merely rational, evidential, empirical, or the seen (2 Corinthians 4:18).
One can prove God only to one’s self, and then only in faith with the help of the Holy Spirit. Certainly our witness can help others find God, and the witness of others can help us find God. But it is a fool’s errand to attempt to prove God to the worldly, rational satisfaction of others. The only sustaining proof of God we’ll know in this life is in the combined mystery and assuredness of faith residing in our minds and hearts. For evidence we have the Bible, the Church, our faith, and our fellowship with each other. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to do the heavy lifting of illuminating God’s truth in human hearts.
God sent Jesus into this fallen world to restore us eternally, not to avoid this life’s trying times but to endure them. Amid confusion, chaos, pain, danger, despair, or even unsettling election results, proclaim God’s truth in Heaven when reason on earth fails.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) suggests reading 1 Peter 3:8-22 on suffering if the election rattles your faith or if you need a refresher course on God’s will.
PS – Congrats to Current’s sixth birthday, and praise God for this weekly space.