Imagine what life would be like in a snow globe. Everything would always be the same. The only time anything would ever change is when someone picked up your world and gave it a shake. A quiet, still, motionless world would just sit in waiting for an outside source to make something happen. I’ve found that some people seem to live in a “snow globe” world. In their mind, nothing can happen unless an outside source (God) picks up our world and gives it a shake. In their understanding, everything happens for a reason. It only snows when God makes it snow, we only breathe when God tells us to, our world is incapable of anything without the hand of God. In this way of thinking, when fires engulf a place like California it’s because God tilted the globe a certain way – and this happened for a reason. When countries go to war, it’s because God shook our tempers – and this happened for a reason. When accidents on the highway occur it’s due to God’s movement of the snow globe – and this happened for a reason.
Personally, I don’t believe that we live in a snow globe world. I do believe God created this place and put everything in motion, from the stars in the sky to the movement of the tide, to the wind that stirs the air. In that sense everything does happen because God set it in motion. However, I also believe that we live in a place where stuff just happens – without the hand of God. I don’t believe God shakes us until we argue, fight, and go to war. I don’t believe God tilts the globe to flood places like Houston. I believe God has created weather, people, and animals to interact with each other – and sometimes these interactions are not always pleasant.
Why? Because we live in a broken world. Buildings fall, accidents happen, children cry, sickness overwhelms, blizzards hit, and promises are broken. These are not the acts of God; they are the acts of our environment or the acts of us. Blizzards happen because we live in a natural world and broken promises are the result of a sinful people surrounded by evil.
So when someone says to me, “Everything happens for a reason” I tend to disagree because I don’t live in a snow globe world. I can’t fathom the idea that God had a reason behind the shooting in a Texas congregation. I do however, cling to the promise of God: That when a flood ravages a city, God will shake us into action as people who care. When children die we stand beside the distraught parents and ask “Why” with them. When nations go to war God moves us into prayer.
So does God have the whole world in his hands or not? Yes, in the palm of His loving and faithful hands. But more importantly for me is the reality that God stepped into our snow globe to live among us, no matter the weather, no matter the brokenness, no matter the violence. And that did happen for a reason – because he loves us that much!
Grace + Peace,