One of the all time great Christian cliches’ makes the claim, without following the line of reasoning, that God “placed you in the family you’re in.” That line of reasoning is a common one from Christian speakers across the country. This is normally during a speech or sermon where somebody needs to make a point about God’s plan for our lives.
The “family” line is a convenient path to convince people to be more “satisfied” with their family members.
So, God placed everybody in their families. Really?
Did God Place These Children In These Families?
A child is born. Shortly after as an infant the child is physically abused, shaken, critically injured or killed. God placed the child in that family?
A child grows up in a home with his/her parents. The child is neglected, physically abused, sexually molested. God placed the child in that family?
That’s going far enough for most people, but I’ll give one more example.
One I Personally Know Quite Well:
A child is born to a mother who does not know who the father is. The mother has two other children by other fathers. She is married to none of them. Over the course of time, she loses all of her children to foster care for her neglect of them. She kidnaps one from the paternal grandmother.
She ends up in custody for the kidnapping, bailed out at some point. She flees into Mexico. At that point she had custody of her youngest daughter. She abandons her in her quest to flee her penalty.
The child is placed in multiple foster families before her brother goes to retrieve her by court order. She is taken back to Western Arkansas to live with him, her sister in law and their children, her niece and nephew.
At this point, she is just under 7 years old. She is put in school and soon realized by school officials that she has serious learning disabilities that have been ignored. She is first determined to be deaf, mute and retarded. None of which is accurate.
Abuse by her sister in law begins shortly after arriving in their home. She is separated from the rest of the family and made to eat alone away from the other kids. She is forced to ride in the back section of their vehicle. She is denied treats the other kids are provided.
The sister in law’s hatred of her is made intentionally obvious. For two and a half years the little girl endures neglect, mental and emotional abuse and hatred from her brother’s wife. The observation of some people resulted in the family being placed under court ordered counseling.
Was this little girl placed in the family …… this situation by God? Not hardly.
The results of the little girl’s misery? She was introduced to my wife and I just shy of her 10th birthday. She had her 10th birthday party at our house.
The rest is history. She became our daughter and is, as of this writing, now 21. She is still making strides in her education and other areas. She is the love of our lives and we are permanently committed to making sure she can have the best life available.
You could say God intervened and took care of her. How could that determination be made?
An elderly neighbor across the street from her had observed her treatment. The lady prayed for her daily for three years until she was out of the home and with us. God intervened.
By the way, the scripture used to erroneously make the assumption that God placed everybody in their natural families is often Psalms 68:6. That verse clearly has nothing to do with the families that people are born into. That verse is an assurance that God will intervene for those already living on this earth.
Here’s the reality. God made humans to be fruitful and multiply. He then left it up to them.
That means a pregnancy is the result of a physical act that initiates a process that results in a human life being produced. That physical act is the decision of two people whether they are good, bad or anything in between. God does not place people in their natural families.
People are placed in families when they are born due to the initial physical act that produced them. They are born to the good, the mediocre, to abusers, sex offenders and killers. God didn’t choose that for them. They were forced into it by the people that produced them.
But sometimes God does intervene.
The point? Don’t insult and offend people by making the erroneous assumption that God placed everybody in their families.
That alone is enough to make many people hate God.
But do promise them that He has a will for their lives and that they have a purpose predetermined by Him.
And tell them that He will intervene when people pray.