"What Did I Do to Deserve This?"
October 3, 2011
Updated June 28, 2018
6 comments 617 views
I’m a part of a group of 9 women (all of whom have children with disabilities) who are meeting weekly for Bible study and support. On Thursday the question came up, “Do you ever wonder if your child’s disability is punishment from God for some past sin?”
What about you? Have you ever found yourself wondering (perhaps subconsciously) that you must have done something that caused God to give you a child with such challenges and issues? In other words, do you ever find yourself asking, “What did I do to deserve this?” (think Job and his "dear" friends)
I’d love to hear back from some others! We had a great discussion on this and we also discovered how God answers this very question in His Word. (I’ll post more on this later).
Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.Add Your Post
Back again...Most of us in the group said we struggled from time to time wondering if perhaps we had done something wrong (and that's why God gave us a child with a disability). The thinking is not so much that God was actually punishing us, but it's hard to shake the nagging feeling that we must have done something to be given a child with special needs. Today in our group one of the ladies said she wondered if she did something wrong during her pregnancy. This feeling was underscored by countless questions from various doctors, such as, "Did you take this? Did you drink that? Did you do such and such?" Those questions -- asked many years ago -- still ring in her ears. Still make her feel a little guilty. Still lead her to wonder, "what did I do to deserve this? This is somehow my fault." Words from others point fingers of accusation (whether intentionally or not).
Maybe the deeper question is really, "Why did this happen?" Why does my child have this mental illness, this intellectual disorder, this physical illness, this personality disorder? WHY?
Last week we settled on John 9:1-3 where we read the disciples making some assumptions of their own. "'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'"
Words from Jesus that point UP.
I guess I've never really asked about what I might have done wrong to make this happen -according to God, but yes, I have wondered what I did during my pregnancies that could have caused all the anomalies. Yet, when I consider closely each pregnancy, I know that I ate and did much of the same things and food with all four girls. WIth two being normal and two being not-normal, I am at a loss to explain the difference.
I am thankful for the upbringing I had, especially with relation to my concept of God and his sovereignty. I've not thought that God would do something to my children because of my sins. I just don't understand that line of thinking, yet I have a friend who was told exactly that by her church.
The sickroom is no place to debate or expound upon theology!
Bev, I was thinking the same text when I read your first email - the story from the book of John. John Piper has an amazing sermon that is worth sharing with your group. Here is the link:
It is good to talk through the misconceptions and feelings because I think when we don't name or address those fears or misgivings, they supersede our intentions with our children. And I am also very aware of how my "normal" girls perceive God according to our circumstance.
I still remember one elder visiting our home after our third daughter was born. I have to laugh now - and I deeply respect this man -but at the time, it was a bit of a shock. I said "why me?" and he responded with "why not you?" He's right. But, it wasn't the comforting words I was seeking at the time!
I hope the group continues to hold each other up and encourage each other. I find support groups can sometimes turn into story-topping or complaint sessions. I hope that you will also come together in Truth and seek to grow in your faith as you wrestle with your doubts.
Actually, I think what most of us parents find ourselves wondering is "why my child?" We don't ask this in a whiny, self-pitying way, but as part of our grief. We see our kids struggle to simply get through the day and it often causes us to feel much pain.
As for what I don't deserve? It's God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness! "What did I do to deserve this?" Nothing. He did it all out of love for me. Thank You God! It's what gets me through each day. If I didn't have His strength to lean into, I'd be a noodle.
This is a really interesting question. We got pregnant through IVF. That was a difficult journey in itself that came through many nights of tears and prayers asking for guidance and direction through the maze of medical technology. Once Savanah was born and we were presented with her diagnosis, the geneticist was quick to say that this was not because of IVF and that there is no literature to prove that fertility treatments could cause her specific genetic abnormality. This just happened by "chance". However I have had a couple of people that have asked or suggested that Savanah is the way she is because we tried to "take control" by using IVF. (They didn't believe that IVF was the right way to go in the first place). I don't agree with them, but it's always a niggling doubt in the back recesses of my brain, did we try to take over God's control? Is this His "punishment"?
I don't question God's soverignty and I don't believe that Savanah is a "chance" occurence. Rather, she has a purpose in this life and wholey belongs to God. One of the biggest lessons that we've learned is that life has more grey areas rather than black and white, yet others are quick to make judgements. We have to sift through other's advice!
Hi everyone, I'm so comforted to hear your open discussion. I know this was a big issue for me when my son was young and I was constantly exhausted and stressed with his extreme behaviors. I was pretty wild as a teenager and young adult so I did buy into Satan's lie that God was punishing me for those past sins. As I saw how my son suffered when he literally beat himself (self-injurious behavior), I would beg God to have it stop and pray that my son would not longer suffer for my sins.
Years later as I have began to know my Lord and Savior better I saw that it was a lie. And I know that I would not be where I am today without God's grace showered on me time and time again throughout this journey. You know that God is with you when you are restraining your child from hurting himself and this unexplainable peace just floods your heart. I felt the Lord next to me that day. Not every day. But that day was when I started to understand that He really is with me although my world was chaos and pain.
And those difficult times were enough for me to understand that God is my strength when I allow myself to lean on Him. And now after God provided again and again, my son is doing better and hasn't hit himself in almost 3 months (it used to be multiple times per day). But also during that horrible time, I learned about God and He was there. And He is faithful even when I am not.
So now I know that God can make all things work for good as he promises in his scriptures. And He continues to refine me. And my son has become joyful and a delight again. My life will never be even "close to normal" but I can remember what God has done and thank Him. I believe the difficult times are for drawing us close to Him. And for bringing others into our world. The good times are so we can use what God has showed us to bless others. And through it all we can learn to thank God for it all.
I no longer think it's important to know whether God caused it, allowed it, or whatever. What is important is what we allow God to do with these circumstances and with us. Do we completely surrender the problem to him? Or do we hold on to parts of it and attempt to solve it within our limited human abilities? Do we let God work through us so our lives and our child's lives can become a tesitmony for God's glory?
It's tough to do. But once we start, it seems so easy and we wonder why we didn't start sooner? But then, that stubborn do-it-ourselves thing keeps rising again. So surrender again and keep remembering and reminding ourselves that God's way is better.
I covet your prayers to help me keep surrending. And I will pray that for you too. Jill
It's so good to hear the journeys of others. Thanks so much for sharing! Sarah, thanks for sending the link to John Piper's sermon. That was amazing!
BTW, Jill -- welcome to the forum! I'm glad you found it.
We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.