This is a tough one. I hesitate to even say anything because when people are
grappling with this issue they have so many raw emotions near the surface and
no matter what position you take you end up offending someone. So I’m not
going to take a “position” or try and answer the question, as much as I’m going
to talk about who God is and the relationship He has with us, hoping this will
help each of us answer these questions for ourselves.
See, I’ve gone through a lot of struggles in the past few years and there were
many times I could have easily believed God had abandoned me. In fact, if our
relationship were about me then I have no doubt He would have. Thankfully,
that’s not the nature of our relationship!
I remember sitting and crying right before we filed bankruptcy. I asked God
where He was in all of that, why He was punishing me. His answer was simple,
“Have I taught you nothing about parenting?” Now, this was difficult to hear,
but so important. My entire ministry was about teaching mothering, parenting,
Grace-Based Discipline. Yet I thought God was punishing me! Actually, I “felt”
like God was punishing me. Talk about a good lesson in not looking only to our
feelings for a barometer of our relationship with God! And as I thought on what
He was saying to me, how I would explain what was happening to us in a
framework of Grace-Based Discipline, God spoke to me again. He said,
“You’re ready.” See, He had been holding back the natural consequences of
our poor decisions with money (some made in active foolishness and most
made out of ignorance) for two years. For two years He’d been keeping us out
of bankruptcy. He’d been teaching us about money and helping us struggle
along. But we were finally ready to go through that experience. It was hard. It
hurt. It was humbling and I’d never wish it on anyone. Yet we learned so much.
As a couple we are committed to never getting back to that place again and
we’ve strived to learn more and make better decisions at each step of our lives
since! We haven’t always made the right choices and we are still learning, but
we’ve come so far.