Why God Doesn’t Always Rescue Us

“We’re working harder to help her than she is,” my wife commented to me last Tuesday. After nearly pulling out what little hair I have left on my head, I was about ready to scream. The push and pull of raising teenage daughters could drive anybody nuts.

Sometimes I wish I could crawl inside my daughter’s head to convince her that I’m trying to help when I push her to turn in her homework on time. Or tell the truth. Or practice her cello. But this week I reached the end of my rope. I couldn’t “make” her do any of the above.

Later that night, I experienced one of those “aha” moments that occur only a handful of times in a person’s lifetime. Quite honestly, it was a spiritual experience.

Rather than bail out my daughter from her self-inflicted problems, I realized that I need to let her experience the consequences of her choices. If she chooses to flunk out of the 8th grade, she can go to summer school—but she’ll have to work for me to pay off the additional fee for summer classes. If she chooses not to practice her cello—when I pay $50 per lesson—then she’s choosing not to play the cello. Canceling her lessons was is easy as a phone call. Suddenly, I recognized that I was part of the problem. I was becoming the co-dependent parent. By rescuing her, I was preventing her from growing up and becoming a healthy, functioning adult.

Then the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. God isn’t co-dependent. That’s why he lets us fall. That’s why he so often doesn’t rescue us. If he did, he would be reinforcing co-dependent behavior. We’d expect him to bail us out and we wouldn’t grow.

How often do we mess up our lives and then blame God when he doesn’t rescue us? After a neighbor died of a drug overdose, the deceased’s grief-stricken step-father asked me, “Why did God let this happen?” He didn’t; his son made a fatal choice.

This brings to mind the fact that God’s perspective on pain is different than ours. Pain is a great motivator. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Sometimes pain is the better option than our deliverance from it, and rescuing us may at times be the worst thing for us.

So last Tuesday evening, after trying everything within my power to “make” my daughter practice her cello, I calmly walked into her room and told her, “Tonight I’m going to give you a choice. If you choose not to practice for your lesson tomorrow, I’m going to take that as your decision to quit the cello. I want you to play. You have the musical ability. But that’s your choice. I’m happy to call your teacher and cancel your lessons. But you’ll have to reimburse me for the $100 for the last two lessons of the month.”

I turned around and walked downstairs to my office. Within 5 minutes, the most beautiful cello music I had ever heard began emanating from her bedroom.

God isn’t co-dependent, I told myself as I soaked in the music.

But lest we assume God lacks any compassion, the fact is, he has rescued us. He threw us a lifeline when he sent Jesus to earth. He’s given us the Holy Spirit to comfort us in our pain. We aren’t alone.

God loves us and he wants us to be healthy–in our relationship with him and with others.



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7 responses to “Why God Doesn’t Always Rescue Us

  1. elna

    and He still gives us the choice of accepting the ‘cello lessons’ of Jesus or deciding against it. Praise His Name!!

  2. Carri

    Great post Mike! I love it when God allows me to see & understand one of those ‘AHA’ moments- it is so cool. I also love how the Lord imparts wisdom to us in situations like these. Even at work, when I come up against a problem I’m unable to solve, many times before I reach out to my technical support person I will ask the Lord for revelation as to what is causing the problem. And more times than not He opens my eyes or my mind shifts to allow me to ‘see’ what is the solution. I love that He has given us His Holy Spirit for counsel, direction, and for conviction of sin. You’re absolutely right, God is not co-dependent!!!

  3. Todd Lowther

    Shortly after I retired, I was battling internally about that to “do” with the rest of my life. With five children, two daughters still at home, God seemed to answer me. “Be a good father. I know…it’s a full-time job.”

  4. Yeah, and I feel like I’m working overtime right now. Quite honestly, I don’t know how we could parent our youngest if I wasn’t working from home.

  5. Mike

    Insanity is inherited. We get it from our kids. I can certainly relate but there is good news. You have discovered your co-dependent nature, common to most of us and the whole basis for the government welfare state (another subject – sorry). A wise man (Juan Carlos Ortiz) told me that we should rejoice at our children rebelling against our conventions. Otherwise they will make the same mistakes we make! And what good is it to merely do what someone else wants? We truly grow up when we realize that we are determining our future and reaping the benefits or consequences of our choices. May it be for you as it now is for us (after some awful years) that the adult version has little resemblence to the teen version. And the gifts that got set free are truly amazing!

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