Why is it considered reasonable for a child to expect safety, security, and a good, loving upbringing from their earthly parents, yet, when a believer reads promises of God’s protection, provision, etc. in the Bible, and is not granted such, they are told, in a sense, that they should not expect such things from God? That their expectations were misplaced?
The Bible, especially The Old Testament, like Psalms, etc., almost paints a picture that If you follow the One True God, protection, and good things will be yours. We know, however, this is not so.
So, why is it sometimes said that one has wrong expectations of God, when they look to Him to care for them just as well, or better than, an earthly parent? If we said the same things to a child when their earthly parent failed to give them security, provision, a loving upbringing, etc. wouldn’t that be incorrect? A child should be well cared for by their parents. So, are earthly parents held to a higher standard than God?
I am genuinely confused about this, as this is a personal, and sensitive,
question. I appreciate any insight one can give on this. Thank you.
Well hello again Kenda how are you doing in our current covid climate? I trust and pray all are well and safe. I do love your passion for truth asking the questions you ask that have such depth of feeling.
In the following quote so I am clear in my understanding, are you saying that God expects a Parent to fulfill their responsibility but that He does not have to unless He chooses to do so? Just asking for clarity so I can give further input.
I am praying for wisdom from above as I await your responce.
Hello again, Mike. I hope that you and yours are well and safe. And, Happy Palm Sunday to you.
I guess you can put it that way. I guess I am trying to ask, why society righty would expect a parent to care for their child. But, in faith, we seem to give God a “pass” in a sense, when that doesn’t happen. I think about the verse in the Bible where Jesus said in essence, if we who are sinful can give good gifts to their children, how much more then would God ? I know in some parts of the Bible it says that God will give The Holy Spirit to those who ask, but, there is a part in the Bible where it suggests ,and says, that God gives good things to His kids. Sort of like comparing a fallen creature parent to Him, a Godly good parent. But, when I hear some people speak of legitimate times or seeking God to step in for them, and He doesn’t, it is written off that they probably had a false idea about God, had false expectations of Him, and so on. I’m sorry for the long explanation, but, I hope that helps, some.
That helps tremendously in my understanding and comprehension of your whole question. Thank you for the help Kenda.
Off the cuff I must say I do not understand why people minimalize things that are so important and passionate to others.
My first thought on things is in our current covid climate, the fear, dread that grips people comes out the wrong way depending on the individual and their personality. While this has been an issue in life for a long time our present day is exacerbating it. It is adding fuel to a fire that is already burning.
Further more and I will say many posts lately have used the word perception, perspective and everyone’s perception of scripture, theology, ideology, you name it is majorly or minorly impacted by that perspective.
The world and worldviews are full of servant Sam’s, benefit Bill’s, negative Nancy’s, positive Pete’s. There are even those that think they are an infitisamal speck in a vast cosmos of time and space.
God shows His love and care in the specific ways that speaks to each of us in His own way.
Let me share my thoughts on,
Phil. 4:19 my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus.
God is moving through Him and her our brothers and sisters who are in Christ Jesus. His hands, arms, feet, eyes, and ears all parts of His body have been activated to meet many needs in our world.
Some do not realize as you put it in the quote below that God never leaves us or forsakes us because our perspective is wrong as to who He is.
If I was asked early on in my walk my answer would be nothing like this.
God is still a miracle working God and He still heals in many ways but there are times that He wants to do something but He must wait for His willing jars of clay to step out in faith and do His will.
I am encouraged as I see faith which is simply a power from God that always leads to action becoming more common place as we move deeper into this pandemic.
Jesus always looked past people’s perspective. All we need do is look at His personal encounters written in the word, and see that He loved them in spite of themselves. And boy can i just say thank you Jesus to that one.
Praying for healing as well.
Please let me say again thank you and no you were not to long with that answer. Please take care and be safe out there.
Good evening, James. Yes, to your questions, both “a” and “b”.
I don’t feel quite comfortable divulging much personal information on this forum, at this time. I will say that I’ve been reading Ruth Graham’s book, Billy Graham’s daughter, on forgiveness. In it, she talks about having a wrong expectation of God, in a situation that I thought was reasonable to anticipate, and expect God’s intervention, as a child of God.
She said that God didn’t show up in her life the way she had hoped He would , thus, she was angry at Him. But she said that part of her getting over her anger at God, was believing that she had misplaced expectations of God.
I think that her desire to see God help her in her childhood, and adult life, made sense to me.
Some people do not know what it’s like to be protected, wanted, or loved. In their formative years, this makes for a terrible foundation. If they are child of God, and have not been protected during their traumatic experiences, are they simply to say that God is God, and can do what He wants (which is true), and just smile and accept all that has happened? Is it unreasonable for them to have hoped for, and expected God’s help, protection, and shining intervention in their life? An earthly parent would be expected to save their children from harm, severe or not.
I’m sorry for the onslaught of questions. I wish I could present the storm of thoughts in my head, more succinctly.
This is the best I can do for now. I’m trying not to muddle the heart of my question.
Okay - I can understand your reluctance to get specific in a public forum. Since you need to present the question in generalities, I can only answer in generalities. But I think you may need to see someone you trust - a pastor, deacon, Sunday school teacher, mentor - someone to whom you can become more specific if you need a more specific answer.
The Bible does say that God is a help and shield to those who trust in Him (Psalm 115:11), and that He leads His own so that they do not want (Psalm 23:1-3). He is a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5).
I do believe that, in a wealthy nation like ours, God’s blessings can be so abundant that it is easy to overlook them. I Timothy 6:8 says that, having food and raiment, let us be content. Since you are an office manger in NYC, I’m guessing that these survival basics are probably not what you mean.
But while God promises to provide and protect us, He does not coddle us or shelter us from the harsh realities of life in a fallen world. Ever since the failure in Eden, this world has borne thorns, and no one gets through it unscratched. Consider His servant Job who said, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him - when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Everyone experiences the pressures of life - they are how the Potter shapes the clay into the vessel He wants us to be. And what He ultimate wants to shape in us is the likeness of Christ - Who was a Man of sorrows, with no place to lay His head. If we’re to become like Him, then we cannot escape the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrow. The servant is not above his master.
And at times it can feel like the Father has abandoned us. But no - He abandoned Jesus specifically so He could never abandon us.
But when trials come, you should view them as tests. Anyone can “trust God” when life is easy. There’s nothing supernatural about that. But your trust is tried when God seems distant. Because He is not an overprotective Father - He let’s you brave the world’s perils - but you are never beyond His sight.
And since I’m firing a shotgun in the dark, I may not have even touched on your specific concerns - so forgive me if I’ve missed the mark by a mile. May God guide you to a trusted local Christian to whom you can speak more freely and get answers more tailored to your need.
Kenda, I think I see where you are coming from. I think the responses so far have been good. I am a parent to 12 children and have a bit of a perspective that maybe can help.
As a parent, I do my best to love, teach (responsibility, good manners, how to live practically, good work ethic, etc), train, protect them from serious harm, and to grant their requests when as I see fit. At the same time, often my kids don’t get what they expected, aren’t completely kept from hurt, or don’t get what they asked for. I may let them, for purposes of teaching them to make good decisions or to be patient, let them be cold, or hungry, or tired, depending on how old they are of course. I do not try to protect them from all the harsh realities of the world because it is good for them to experience some things and to see that they can come through those things and be just fine. Kids need to know that if they are hungry they don’t have to eat right this second but will be ok if they have to wait a bit for some food. I do this with wisdom and love though, not out of cruelty. Sometimes in order for something good to happen to a child they have to experience pain or discomfort. We practice karate as a family and we lovingly encourage them to work through their tough spots and to endure and not give up. We try to show them that when we hurt we also grow stronger. On the other hand, I often choose to show them compassion and to give them comforts as a way to show love. As a parent there needs to be a balance. We don’t want to grieve our children and discourage them. We want to build them up, but it takes thoughtfulness and wisdom as to how to go about it. I pray often for God to give me wisdom as a parent. It must be working too because I have a good relationship with everyone of my children.
I have always believed that parents are to do their best to be to their children what God is to the whole world, his created children. It may look slightly different on a larger scale, but the principles are the same. We may not get all we ask for, we may still experience hurt, sorrow, and discomfort. But our God is always there to give us strength when we ask for it, so we can grow and learn from our mistakes, and sometimes he chooses to be silent for a time to give us more of a chance to come to our own realizations. I am speaking a lot from my own experience of growing in faith through my relationship with our Lord. We won’t always understand why God allows us to experience hard times, or why he is sometimes silent when we have prayed for things, but we need to remember that he is always caring for us, that he will always provide our basic needs. We just need to trust Him and wait. It will come, if not when we expect it to, but it will. And his not giving us what we asked for is done in wisdom by Him, not for a lack of caring. His lack of response may be for our good, one of the ways our Father uses to care for us. In time we often learn why He was silent.
I hope this helps. It is just one of many perspectives you could receive on this issue. I pray that you get the understanding you are looking for.
@KenStarr Thank you so much for sharing your question You have received amazing, heart touching answers to which I would only like to add a small theological footnote.
In the Old Testament, God established an earthly Kingdom - Israel - and His promises to them were about the prosperity of that earthly Kingdom - food, wine, sheep, babies, and protection from enemies. But in the New Testament God established a Kingdom that is not of this world - it is not an earthly Kingdom. It is a spiritual Kingdom.
John 18:36 - Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Jesus did promise to restore this broke earth, but not yet. Jesus will put an end to all suffering, but not yet. Jesus will put an end to death and tears and pain, but not yet. We live in the “already, but not yet” - the age of the Church when God is spreading His message of love to the world and we are like sheep to be slaughtered as we lay down our lives that other may know Christ (Romans 8). Even though it is difficult, the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise.
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Part of understanding our experiences of God as NT believers is understanding this “already, but not yet” world that we currently live in. I thought the following videos did a good job of explaining this concept.
Thank you for offering your perspective from a parental point of view, Carrie. I think my struggle is coming from those who don’t have that foundational upbringing from parents or from God. I appreciate your perspective, though.
Thank you for taking time to answer my question, Sean. I appreciate it very much. I think my problem lies in the theology of seeing God as a good parent when juxtaposed with the reality of those who have had no parent to protect them growing up, and did not receive God’s protection growing up, thus, leaving this world with a very broken, adult who does not understand the concept of love, protection, and may deal with emotional and mental issues. Theologically, how do I tell someone to look in the Bible and see the goodness of God, if they were ravaged by life, and the world, from a young age, with no base concept of a these things? Some of these people deal with mental illness. I’m not sure how to put understand these things and still call God good, without just checking my heart and brain at the door, smiling and nodding, and just singing praise songs until I’m numb, to help me not think of the incongruity I see. We hold parents up to a high standard to be good to their kids but, if a person is afraid of God and life, after having been abused, neglected, etc. how do I explain God’s fatherhood then? Thank you for your answer again. I guess I am still trying to understand this a bit more.
@KenStarr One way of approaching this question is to look at the lives of people who had a terrible upbringing and later found healing in Jesus. Casey Diaz was abused by his father and became a violent gang member, but found healing in Christ. And Wess Stafford was abused at a Christian orphanage, but became a champion for children in Jesus’ name.
There are many such stories. I don’t claim to know how God’s love finds a window into such broken lives, but I see that it does and these stories remind me that God can redeem even the most broken childhood experiences.
Kenda, wow, yes, I see what you mean now. This has been a question in my mind as well. These testimonies that Sean shared are very helpful and wonderful testimonies of how God’s love can shine through into the darkest places of a person as life.
Kenda, I have read reread all that has been posted, i see you as I shared before from a different perspective.
Before I move on Sean’s post reminded me of what I read years ago about Nicky Cruz in the Cross and the Switch Blade.
He told David Wilkerson to shut up about this Jesus stuff or I will cut you up into a million pieces. David said go ahead and those pieces will still say i love you Nicky.
While a former broken, abused person is living in me the genuine love, compassion, and care I saw in the walking, breathing, living word broke me down to my knees.
It helped me though I rebelled against it to ask Jesus to forgive me.
By the way that was my wife and children who loved me in spite of my self condemnation.
I see that quaity in you as you reached out for help in time of need for the hard questions of life.
No one deserves the pain and heartache that comes to some, through no fault of their own though they may blame themselves. Lovers of Christ like you can reach those who do not know how to accept His love. Sharing the hope that is found in Christ.
I guess the crux of what i am asking boils down to this:
Coming from the place of child abuse and neglect, and how it affects an adult. I know a person who was a child, looking to, and talking to God, from a very young age, before they got saved. They got saved not too long afterwards but, their childhood was fraught with sexual, physical and verbal abuse, pain, having no childhood, having to be an adult like child at an early age, and a lot of toxic relations within the family, especially between their parent. They kept thinking God was going to save them
Somehow but continued to grow up in this way. They are very fragile mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and had several suicide attempts, feeling worthless and deep self loathing. I am not sure what to tell this person, as they are without understanding or concept of love, protection, good parenting, etc. it makes me kind of upset to know that this broken human can’t really emotionally and mentally and spiritually connect with God or very well with people. I can’t honestly explain God to them, as being a good parent. They are often very angry with God. I can’t say that I don’t understand where they are coming from.
Thank you for sharing Kenda, we have very similar life stories. Your beginning second paragraph rings true for me. I have shared some here on connect but limited content as a public forum. I can only feel that being called into ministry involving individuals with similar backgrounds 28 years ago was part of His plan for me.
I feel your pain as there have been over the years, more than a few who turned away from instead of to the love of Father. At times the only solace, comfort for me was that they had a few days that they were exposed to the love of Christ and had some degree of a decent life, and know what a real Christian friend looks like.
I have told many when they left if they could promise me that I would see them in glory, some said yes, some said I’ll try but no one said no so hope remains.
I will keep praying that the Holy Spirit will soften his heart and give him understanding of the love you are showing him in Christ.
I celebrate your tender heart.
With love in Christ