Friday, June 22, 2012

Are all things for the best?

As some of you know, my wife and I had a match for our adoption last month that fell through. It was a short match, and we didn't even see the baby, but it was still very challenging.

In the midst of dealing with it many people, including Laci and me, would say something along the lines of, "Well, it must be for the best. God has other plans." When I said, "It has to be for the best," a friend of mine challenged me on that, asking if it really was for the best.

Through virtually all the disappointments in my life, I can say that in hindsight, they usually have been for the best, with something more positive resulting from the closed door. Plus, I always remember Romans 8:28: "We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose" (CEB).

I realized I was living by an assumption that everything occurred according to God's will. Calvinists, like John Piper, would argue that every little thing is determined by God. I reject his level of determinism. The Bible (and a lot of life) actually discuss many situations where people do not live in accordance with God's will. If we did, there would not be any need for salvation, which is obviously central to the biblical story.

When I thought about Romans 8:28 again, it has not promise that all things are according to God's will. It is simply that despite what happens, God will work good for those who love God. Life is full of problems, and those problems are not necessarily ordained by God nor for the best. Yet God can work beauty through them.

I don't know right now if the status of this match was in accordance with God's will or the best. I will probably never know more details about that baby, but I pray the best for that whole family with no ill will. In some ways, it is actually validating to know that not everything is necessarily for the best. If it is for the best, it can feel bad to grieve, yet grief is important.

I don't know why my aunt died of breast cancer at a young age several years ago. I can't imagine saying it was for the best. But I can say God worked a lot of good through her struggle in my life (I would have rather not had to deal with that pain).

So what do you think? Are all things for the best?


  1. I'm sorry to hear about the adoption falling through.

    You ask a big question. A couple of thoughts, just touching the surface:

    We are subject to the brokenness and disorder of our world, and experience many a thing that merit sorrow and compassion. (I believe this is true regardless of whether or not they are "determined".)

    Whether or not they are purposed, I don't know. Perhaps some are. And others not.

    I do believe though that, having overcome the world, God can make anything submitted to Him sacramental and ultimately for our good and healing. And that He does.

    God desperately wants us and will use our sorrow and submission to bring us into oneness with Him.



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