“Everything happens for a reason” is an inarticulate way to express the providence of God. God doesn’t do evil, but He can take a sequence of events and weave something providential out of it. Here’s an example.
This story begins with a noted anthropologist, James Frazer. In 1890, he published a book in which he posits that the legend of a dying and reviving god is central to many ancient mythologies. He scandalized his colleagues and readers by denigrating the history of Jesus as just another myth. His fallacy was to disallow the possibility that God had been preparing humanity for His incarnation, death, and resurrection since the beginning; hence, the anticipation became embedded in the historical human consciousness.
Oxford don T.D. Weldon pondered Frazer’s work. Weldon was a confirmed atheist. But he had considered the evidence for the history of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. In 1926, Weldon visited a colleague’s paneled office near the iconic Magdalen Tower. As they sat near the fire on that cold day, Weldon suggested the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was strong. “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the dying god. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.”
That comment stunned Weldon’s colleague, who had been struggling to maintain his own denial of God’s existence. That colleague was C.S. Lewis. He wrote, “To understand the shattering impact of it, you would need to know the man. If he, the cynic of cynics, the toughest of the toughs, were not–as I would still have put it–“safe”, where could I turn? Was there then no escape?” Lewis sensed the “hound of heaven” in Weldon’s providential comment.
Lewis freely admitted that he didn’t want God to exist, but he became overwhelmed by the evidence. “In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed.” Two years later, he placed his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He described his conversion as like “when a man, after long sleep…becomes aware that he is now awake.”
Three men. A sequence of events and conversations. An awakening to the joy of faith! That’s how Divine Providence works, weaving the circumstances of life into something vital for your soul. He knows all about you. He loves you and reveals Himself to you. Whether you are seeking or not, your providential encounter awaits. He’s not far.
“He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).