Why did God allow me to be raised in a non-Christian home?
The following testimony was given by a man who attended a counseling course and shared insights he found when he asked the question, “Why did God let a bad thing happen?”
I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 16. One of the first things I realized was that our home was not a Christian home. Mom and Dad did not know the Lord and did not seem to be interested in what had become the most important thing in my life. I wished I had Christian parents, and this became a source of real discontent until I could see God’s purpose in allowing me to be raised in a non-Christian home:
- To motivate me to pray for my parents
One of the first prayer requests I had as a new Christian was for the salvation of my parents. When I would begin to get too busy or preoccupied to pray, I would be reminded of my parents’ need for salvation.
- To help me with witnessing
Many times Christians struggle with sharing their faith. I came home from the meeting where I had been saved and shared the decision I made with my parents right away. Since they did not accept Christ at that time, I had other opportunities to witness to them as I grew. I had to learn many ways to communicate the Gospel message. Though I have taken a few evangelism courses since entering the ministry, I believe I learned more about witnessing by the experiences in my home growing up.
- To give me a motivation for Godly living
When I would act rebelliously at home, I would often hear my parents say, “Is that what that church teaches you?” I would usually respond in anger, but my parents had every right to ask the question. I came to understand that the way I lived at home was a reflection to them of the Christian life. If I wanted them to really consider Christianity, I had to be willing to let them see a clear picture of it and not a misleading and distorted substitution.
- To reveal to me my pride
Because my parents did not know Christ, they did things that unsaved people often did. Instead of being sympathetic and praying all the more for them, I became judgmental. This attitude on my part made it very difficult for them to seriously consider Christianity. Instead of submitting to a righteous and sovereign God, they were being pressured to submit to a proud and rebellious teenager.
- To teach me the importance of being under authority
God gave me some of the most loving and self-sacrificing parents I have ever seen. However, my rebellious attitudes often brought strife in our family. I considered this as just part of being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Then one year after I was gone from home, I learned how my brother had graciously submitted himself to my parents’ unspoken wishes and saw the Lord motivate my parents not just to permit my brother to go to a church activity, but to order him to go. I saw through this that God was indeed bigger than my parents, and if I had only allowed Him to work His way, perhaps they would have come to Christ sooner.
- To build in me a hatred for evil
Through some problems in our family, God has shown me the awful consequences of sin. As a young Christian, I did not need a lot of verses to prove to me that certain so-called questionable activities were wrong. I had seen their destructive influence in my own home. Through this, God preserved me from being tempted in those areas.
- To guard me against sliding back into the world
Being saved as a teenager and having unsaved parents, I had strong reminders of what life without the Lord was really like.
- To teach me to patiently wait for the Lord to fulfill His promises
As a new believer, I had claimed the promise of Acts 16:31 for my family. “ . . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” My brother came to know the Lord that same year. I prayed for my parents’ salvation for twenty-six years. Last year, my mother accepted Christ as her personal Savior. We are still praying for Dad.
- To help me to understand how unsaved people think
I once had a non-believer tell me that the problem he had with Christians is that they are so naive. What he meant was that the Christians he had seen were unaware of the pressures and struggles that he had in his life. This is often true of those who are raised in Christian homes, go to Christian schools, and have only Christian friendships.
Christ challenged us to be innocent as doves but wise as serpents. Being raised in a non-Christian home has helped me understand unsaved people more, which has helped me in my present ministry.
- To teach me the importance of Godly character
I have often said that I learned more about Godly character from my unsaved father than from any Christian man I knew as a teen. This reinforced in me the appreciation for living a life that is pleasing to the Lord and honors His Word.
- To warn me about the sin of comparing my circumstances to others
I became dissatisfied with my parents because I compared them to the parents of other young people in our church. This blinded me to most of the special blessings God had given to me, such as those included in this list. It was not until after I left home that I could finally see how the Lord had prepared just the right home environment for the ministry He had planned for me.
This testimony is found in A Comprehensive Course in Effective Counseling, Booklet Five, pages 9-11.