And God said: Let’s make a deal

April 2, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 4:56 pm   Category: Theology

Elder Hale just told an interesting story in the Saturday afternoon session of conference that I think says a lot about God’s methods of interacting with us. The story was about a faithful LDS couple that was considering a full-time senior mission. They were hesitant to leave though because of great concern for a young adult daughter that was not active in the church. The man reported that one day while in deep prayer and pondering on the subject the Lord told him through the Spirit that if they would go all would be well with their daughter. And so it was. By the time the couple completed their mission the boyfriend of the daughter was baptized, the young couple got married, and both the daughter and her new husband were actively involved in the church.

What I want point out is that apparently God is a fan of a barter deal. I have opined that God does like striking a good deal in the past and that we ought to figure out his currency if we want miracles. This story seems to show that sometimes he will even propose terms. The deal is, of course, always an if/then trade. If you do this then I’ll do this.

So how does God do it without violating the laws of justice? Did he interfere with the agency of the daughter? I would say he found someone willing to pay the price on behalf of the daughter. She and her boyfriend needed some promptings from God (and they were the type to heed such promptings) but they weren’t doing what was necessary to get them yet. So God found a volunteer to pay the price required to get those promptings. Parents, if you pay me with x, I’ll use that as payment to give your daughter y.

In other words, God found a volunteer savior.

In God’s deals everyone wins. The parents won because they were granted their miracle in their daughter’s life. The daughter and her new husband win by receiving the blessings of the gospel. Many other people were blessed by the missionary service performed by the parents. And of course God wins because lots of people drew closer to him as a result of this chain of events.

Sounds to me like a small scale version of the world’s ultimate win-win deal – the Atonement. In that deal we (the whole world) won, the Savior won, and of course the Father won too. The course of the Lord really is one eternal round isn’t it?


  1. Goeff: Right on! God does love to barter and bargain and deal with us where we are. And he is only interested in a win-win. But sometimes trying to figure out what he actually up to (whether he is on plan A or plan B or plan C etc.) leaves me feeling that all I can really do is trust that he is working for a win-win.

    Comment by Blake — April 3, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

  2. Thanks Blake. I am a huge believer in miracles and I think we, as Latter Day Saints, could lay claim on a lot more of them if we had a better understanding of this principle.

    Comment by Geoff Johnston — April 4, 2005 @ 1:07 pm

  3. I concur. Side note: you have a cool brother.

    Having been gone, I have to catch up on all the cool dicsussion…curse you.

    Comment by J. Stapley — April 4, 2005 @ 10:36 pm