A Twist in the Plot


As a writer I get to jerk a character from his happy existence and drop him in a world of confusion, darkness, and heartbreak. I knock him to his knees and then grind his face into the dirt. I run him over. I steal away everything that matters to him. Then I pick him up and brush him off and introduce him to the new normal. In all of this life altering, I weave the thread of a gosh-darn good reason for the mess I’ve caused. A plot twist should always have a reason. If only real life worked that way.

Everything happens for a reason. Right? We’ve all heard it. Most of us have said it. We put it out there as a lifeline to those swallowed by grief. But sometimes they can’t grab hold. Some people never recover, never get their souls realigned, because they never find a reason.

A reason always exists. Not necessarily in the context of an unimaginable, futuristic purpose for whatever life throws at us or steals from us, but in the fact that every circumstance has a cause. Something made it happen. A horrific event unfolds and we demand to know why. Why did God allow that? He must have had a reason. If not, then He did it for no reason, which draws the assumption that God is not at all who He was once understood to be.

In an honorable effort to ease the pain and keep God in good standing, we come alongside the hurting with news that everything happens for a reason. There has to be an answer. It may not come in this life, but in the next. Isn’t that what we say?

But, why did it have to happen?

We all know that we live in a world where things go wrong. They go wrong for everybody. A kick in the gut reminds us that life is a breath. Every life is a whisper in time. Redeemed or lost. Saint or sinner. Well, we’re all sinners.
But to crush His own? We live for Him. We trust Him. Couldn’t God have stopped the awful thing from happening? Sometimes He does break the chain of events that leads to tragedy. Probably more often than we realize. Does He always? Obviously not. That’s not what He teaches us about the road we’re on. The walking is done by faith, not by sight. If every potential life-altering, breath-stopping event was only a stage for divine intervention, sight would be our end. Faith wouldn’t exist.
So let it be! We’d rather walk by sight. But faith is what it takes to for us caught in the world gone wrong to follow the One who leads us home.

No one struck by the unthinkable can be denied the question of why. God isn’t surprised or unfeeling when we ask. He must expect it—He knows us so well. We’re all damaged to some degree by the things that happen to us and around us. For some, the damage is brutal. They limp through what’s left of their lives, broken and bleeding. God’s desire is not to rationalize the wound, but to walk with the wounded. To weep with the crushed. And to bring us all home.

The walk—the going on with life—must be by faith. Sight keeps us clinging to the perception of injustice, the bitterness of unforgiveness, and the emptiness of loss. Faith moves us to accept God’s comfort, to give Him the burden we attempt to shoulder on our own. Faith doesn’t lessen our grief or make us forget, but rather assures us that God remembers with us. We’re not alone. Faith is a sacred thread weaving through all our stories on this dying planet of unanswered questions. It binds us together and ensures our safe passage home. Maybe that’s the only answer to why the plot gets twisted. Maybe that’s the reason.

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