The way I view the world, there are three forces/people at work:
 God – I don’t believe He runs the world like a puppet master but I do believe He is involved – When someone becomes a follower of Jesus His Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us and directs, guides and prompts us and helps us to live a life that looks more like Jesus. I experience this in my life. Sometimes the voice of the Spirit is very clear and I really believe I am hearing from God on something and know how to act or what to say, but often it can be more subtle and sometimes I can feel like God is far away and distant. Because of the hugeness of God as I perceive Him to be, I have no problem with the fact that I do not fully understand how He operates or how He works – when He gets involved and when He chooses not to be. If He was able to create the Universe in a moment then it makes perfect sense that I would not be able to come close to understanding everything about Him. But I can have a picture of Him and as I spend time with Him and experience Him and learn more about Him so that picture goes.
 The enemy – The devil, satan, lucifer – once again I don’t really understand how the devil works but I do believe that God has an enemy who has some measure of power and is doing everything he can to thwart the work of God and take down people. Called ‘the father of lies’ the evidence is strong that there is a person or force in the world that is trying to move everyone more towards ‘the dark side’ – temptation, lust, violence, greed are a bunch of the tools of his trade and you just need to pick up a newspaper or turn on the tv to see the evidence of this.
 People – us. I don’t believe we are robots who don’t have free will and are living predetermined lives but that we have a strong measure of free will that influences how we live – the decisions we make and the actions we live out as well as the words we speak and how we act on our thoughts and inclinations.
So when it comes to how life happens, I believe all three people/forces are working all the time. God building His kingdom particularly through those people who follow Him; the devil doing anything in his power to thwart or uproot or break down what God is doing and to hurt and damage and destroy people as much as possible; and us living our lives while being influence by both good and evil and making decisions and learning and growing [hopefully] as we go along.
I had a friend at school who went for a bike ride on the night of his 18th birthday and was knocked over by a drunk driver and killed. A lot of people in situations similiar to those tend to blame God for what happened. “How could you take him like that?” But God didn’t kill my friend, a drunk driver did, when he made a really bad decision and then didn’t perhaps have the reaction ability he needed when he came upon my friend.
Some people have a ‘Whatever happens is God’s will’ approach to life, but I take issue to that as well. People dying is not God’s will, people being sick is not God’s will, abuse and divorce and rape, racism and sexism are not God’s will. They happen because we are in a broken and messed up world [brought about by our sin and disobedience or those who have gone before us] and so yes, God allows stuff like that to happen [a whole other discussion] but not everything that happens is because He wills it to. Holding a ‘Whatever happens is God’s will’ view to life often relinquishes us of the responsibility we should be having for our actions.
And so I do believe that everything happens for a reason in the sense that something or someone made it happen. Not necessarily in the sense that it has meaning and purpose and destiny. Sometimes things just happen because that is how we exercise our free will in that way. Which is why often the things that happen have the odour of crap to them.
Oh, and one more thing…