Jason wrote a blog post about how folks say everything happens for a reason. I'd reword his argument but with the internet there is no point. Click here, read it, and then use your back button to read my response.
Mr. Miller is one of my favorite bloggers. Jason stretches my magickal thinking and world view. I owe him a debt for that. One I am seeking to partially repay in the relatively near future. However, he missed the point. Well, not really, he made his point quite well.
I agree with him that saying "everything happens for a reason" to comfort someone in pain is a well meaning but vapidly empty set of words. If you need to hear them the day of the tragedy, I will not fault you. If you're still selling yourself that line a year later, get help. If you're a magician, you're not much of one. The Work is hard. It demands brutal honesty towards oneself. Let those who need them suffer their own platitudes.
A magician can make everything that has happened have a reason. Crowley has a line in the oath of the abyss, "I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul." The events in our lives may indeed be without meaning. However, if we view them from this perspective, a meaning appears. As subjective as this may seem, it is not. Someone that practices this often enough will find himself developing a inner intuition that specifically aids him in the work.
A ruthless example after a death may be something like this, "I loved this person. I never told him. S/he was removed from my life that I may learn to express my love to others." Another example may be, "I lost my job because I even though I worked hard, my boss didn't perceive it that. This may show that I think I am working hard toward finding my HGA but I am really slacking. When is the last time I sat in meditation?"
A more difficult process occurs when you've been seriously wronged. You can blame the other person as they deserve it. Or, you can ask, why did I face this? What am I supposed to learn? It is easy to be angry and very difficult to turn the tide inward but such is necessary to complete the Work.
I once had a conversation with someone whom I thought was very wrong. The next day, I went to the grocery store. Completely out of context, the bagger used the exact same sentence, including an uncommon word, as my friend. I took that to mean my friend had a point as it related to my life, even though some other things he said were clearly incorrect. I acted on that point and feel it was the right decision.
The events that happen in life can have meaning beyond randomness. The magician can make that happen.