Parenting Q & A
by Mary Allen

A Potpourri of Essays about the Family, the Home, and Parenting

"The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous." Ps 146:8




Where is God in this mess?

August-September, 2010

Q: My family is going through a ‘bankrupt time’ physically and financially. Everything I used to think assured about our future—my children’s future—is now uncertain. My older teens are making choices that are taking them away from the church. I know this is just another pothole in life’s road, but I’m stuck, and every way out seems to take too much out of me. Where is God in this mess?

A: He’s there. You are not alone. This is a story I am hearing more and more as I talk to people. I’ve been through aspects of it myself. True, you are going through many challenges at once. True, you’ve had the breath knocked out of you. But even at the bottom, there’s light if you look up.

Some of my greatest epiphanies occur behind the wheel. Thankfully these flashes of insight usually occur when I’m alone, because they’re almost always accompanied by tears. Maybe sharing how God spoke to me in a tough situation will encourage you to hang in there throughout yours.

Two years ago, on my solo way to a baby shower, I was listening to the hymn Amazing Grace. I’d been fretting about something or other that was feeding my discontentment in a certain area of our life that was unchangeable, and wham! The words from the song hit me in the chest and immediately I felt convicted of the following, and I even jotted it down so I’d remember:

How dare we think that God’s plans for us are less than what He promises?

Seems pretty simple, but as with all epiphanies, it was so right on for my internal angst. The lyrics kept washing over me…

“Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me–I was blind–but now–I see…”

With these truths before me, I definitely felt wretched! I’d been camping on the hard things, finding my life “wanting”–wondering why I continually struggled with this certain area of my life. How dare I be discontent with any part of this God-ordained life I lead, one that frankly, is incredibly blessed above and beyond all that I could ever ask or think!

So I may not have what it takes to ward off this or that disaster-waiting-to-happen or some such other tripe that got me off track to begin with. So what? I have a big God, but He never promised it would be easy.

Bad things do happen in this fallen world. That doesn’t mean the bad things are God’s punishing hand on our families. Yes, we’re human. We make mistakes. We have to pay the consequences. But nothing is irredeemable. By God’s grace we that believe, can have renewed lives, clean slates to begin again. Stay the godly course with your family, and remember that no matter where their own choices take them, they were raised with the truth. God can take their painful life choices and teach all involved something beautiful.

1 Corinthians 6:11, written after a long list of sinful lifestyle choices in verses 9-10, states,

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Someone once said, “We should not doubt in the dark what He has shown us in the light.”

Worth repeating:

“We should not doubt in the dark what He has shown us in the light.”

Yes, I was so blind but now I see.

Because, as Mark Lowry put it so eloquently:

“Anything short of hell is a privilege.”

Don’t you agree? Don’t let the darkness in your life morph into a faith crisis as I almost did. Rest in God’s sovereignty. We are shaped through our pain.

Instead of “camping on” our troubles, we must bank on God’s promises, such as the theme verse for this article. The Bible is full of His promises to us.

The plans God has for us are for our good, not for our evil. This doesn’t mean His plans are for our financial gains, or for our material comforts, or for us to be considered popular by the masses, or for one month without health tests or family crises. To me, it means that the circumstances He allows in our lives will bear fruit for good, not evil, if we keep trusting!

Father, take the wheel. Because in my hands, it too easily detours…and sadly, wide is the path to destruction when we let our failures take root, and turn into bitterness, and forget in the darkness what You told us…in the light.


Rejoicing in hope... Romans 12:12

by Mary Allen

Published by

Email Contact:

About the Author:  Mary Allen is a stay-at-home, homeschooling, country-loving mom. She makes her home in the mid-west amidst Border Collies, horses, cows, a horde of chickens, her beloved husband of 16 years and their three girls. She writes articles for several online publications, including her own website, Home-Steeped Hope

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  Used by Permission.)

Published August 3, 2010

Updated March 27, 2014

Button Bar Credit

Search Parenting Q & A here