The Buffet of Life – Does everything happen for a reason?

          Sometimes I believe the phrase everything happens for a reason. Like the time I was stuck behind a slow car on a two lane road causing me to get stopped at a red light only to witness the cars in front of the slow car collide into each other in a massive wreck. (I know, right?)
          Sometimes I don’t believe everythinghappensforareason. Like the time I dropped a glass bowl and it shattered on my kitchen floor and I stepped on a piece of the glass and it lodged in my foot. End of story. Glass in foot. 

Which leads me to believe that here on earth some things happen for a Godly reason and some things don’t. My opinion on this topic changes daily, so by the time I’m finished writing this I may have changed my mind.

Saying I have been placed exactly where I am at this point in history for a reason (first line of my DoND post) does not mean I believe the cliche everything happens for a reason. I’m not sure that believing in free will and believing in the everything happens for a reason theory are compatible. I hold to the view that God uses all of my decisions to create depth and meaning in my life and to show me how to better live for Him. Sometimes this means things in my life happen for a reason. Sometimes this means things in my life just seem to happen – reason or no.

Certain events are undoubtedly designed by God for me to endure for a reason. (My death falls into this category.) But there are other times in life that don’t fit so well into a God-caused category. I believe these are the times that separate heaven from earth.

If God wants you to experience a certain event, let there be no doubt, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE SAID EVENT. But I believe the rest of life is like a buffet. The choices are laid out in front of us, and what we chose to place on our plate is what God will use to shape us. Think of Golden Corral or Picadilly or Ryan’s or Great American Buffet or your local fancypantsCountryClub (wow, apparently I’m a buffet connoisseur). At every buffet there are healthy choices and fatty choices, delicious choices and sketchy-what-is-that choices.

If God laid out a buffet for your life and you walked through the line picking and choosing what you wanted to put on your plate, I believe there are some things God would place on your plate for you, and there are other things you would be able to put on your plate whether God thought you should have it or not.

Picture a 5 year old going through a buffet line. Mom places chicken and macaroni and cheese on child’s plate. Child picks mashed potatoes. Mom places salad on child’s plate. Child picks cottage cheese (because it looks fun). Mom places carrots on child’s plate. Child picks brownie. Once back at the table: the child eats the chicken but not all of it, scarfs down the macaroni, eats some of the mashed potatoes (but mostly plays with them), picks at the salad, takes a HUGE bite of the cottage cheese (but spits it back out), nibbles at the carrots, and consumes the entire brownie.

Child + buffet = Me + life.

God knows what I really need to live (chicken/salad/carrots), so He places it on my plate. God knows what I really enjoy (mac n cheese), so sometimes He places that on my plate as well. I want certain things because they look appealing (cottage cheese/brownie) , and even though God knows they will be bad for me, He still lets me pick them.

Moral of this confusing and odd buffet scenario:

Alas, when I go for the brownie and God wanted me to have the orange, God will ultimately work for good with that brownie, even if the brownie turns out to be really, really bad for me. God didn’t cause me to choose the brownie. I picked the brownie. I could’ve just as easily picked the orange or the pie or the cake or the cookie. But I didn’t. I picked the brownie. God will figure out how to use my bad brownie decision for His ultimate good since I really, really love Him. (Even if that means the brownie causes me to go to jail, or somethingelseterrible.)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Saying God places certain events in your life for a reason does not mean only the huge events are God-caused. God has a place in the mundane and the minute. God can be the cause of me losing my keys just as much as He can be the reason I was on the show Deal or No Deal. Sometimes, He may decide to give me a Subway sandwich.

I believe God can have a part in everything if He is invited into our daily lives.

I mean, His Spirit lives in us. Of course God wants to be a part of our daily lives if He gave us a Spirit to live in us allthetime.

I have noticed an interesting trend about things happening for a reason in my life. When I am living life fully in the Spirit, more things seem to happen for a reason, that is to say, God is able to do more good with my decisions.

When I am drifting away from God or boxing up the Spirit inside of me, more things seem to happen without a reason.
What are your thoughts?


This lovely little picture comes from The Love Shop on Etsy.

  • Karentennis

    Buffets can be dangerous…both nutritionally and on your wallet…when it’s a per dish price! Hahahaaa….but I love the analogy and totally agree. When we focus on God, we are looking for His purpose in things. When we aren’t focused on God, we miss His purpose and are only looking for our purpose. Daily focus and prayer is important for a God-centered life.

    • hayfarris

      Haha! Yes, buffets can be dangerous! And focusing on God daily makes for much better buffet selections.

  • OboeLady4God

    Totally agree with your buffet theory.  Well said, dear.

    • hayfarris

      Thank you!