I hear everyone in the world say that everything happens for a reason. Does it? I always felt that we have our free agency and make choices and except those consequences whether they be good or bad. I am puzzled with what I hear about happening for a reason.
The question you ask is a deep question that probably will have different answers depending on who you ask. The question strays into the realm of philosophy, however we also have doctrinal truths which can clarify our thoughts. This question is highly dependent on a person’s personal interpretation for “reason” though.
We know, as Latter-day Saints, our lives are not without reason. We exist for a purpose. We know that God has created a body for us that we might gain knowledge and experience through the gift of moral agency.
The gift of moral agency provides individuals with a choice, and the decisions they make each day either effect people directly, or indirectly. This would give support to the notion that “things” happen with reason. President Monson is often quoted saying, “There are no coincidences” as he makes the point that his experiences in life have taught him to always look for the Lord’s hand” (source).
In connection with President Monson’s declaration, let’s review briefly the life of Joseph in Egypt. We know he was sold into slavery. We know as a slave he was wrongly accused and thrown into prison. However, despite such atrocities in his life, he was able to deliver his family from a severe famine, and then we read these words from Joseph, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Thus we learn Joseph’s slavery and imprisonment was not without reason.
However, should all things be correlated (coincidences and reason) with God’s will? I am not apt to answer this question in totality; although, I will present some ideas that things around us happen for some “reason,” whether this reason be the will of God, as with Joseph in Egypt, or simply the reason of moral agency of individuals which God allows and suffers it. We can safely conclude these reasons as to why things happen in our lives: Love (God and man), justice (God and man), knowledge (God’s and man’s), forgiveness, anger, resentment, service, etc…
A single woman, barely able to make ends meet, receives a card with $100 in the card. A widow receives a plate a cookies on Valentines day from an unknown provider. A father, hard working, fired from his job. I think you are following my line of thought. All these things happened with “reason” — love, greed, kindness, charity, avarice natured, etc…
None of these reasons inhibit anyone’s moral agency to act or be acted upon. They increase it by providing other opportunities to gain knowledge through experience.