5 Faulty Expectations Parents Have About God

by | Jun 5, 2023 | what you can do | 10 comments

photo cred. Nani Chavez

I was blindsided! My early parenting years didn’t prepare me. Books I read on childrearing didn’t prepare me either. No one prepared me for what was to come. It’s not fair. I believed with prayer and trying to do everything “right” (whatever that is), God would answer my prayers quickly. Problems would resolve. Nothing bad would happen.

But the difficulties continued … and worsened. I never dreamed we would have experienced what we did with one of our children. My journey as a parent hasn’t turned out as I expected. I admit it now. I had faulty expectations. Dear parent, are you in that boat with me?

Did you know there are many people in the Bible who felt that way about their lives too? John the Baptist is one example. In John 1:29 – 34, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus a hard question, “Are you the one who was to come?”

Didn’t he know for certain? John was in the midst of experiencing super hard times. He’d endured a year or so in prison with no sign of his suffering ending anytime soon. He was full of doubts and questions. He’d heard about what his cousin Jesus was doing but his expectations were unfulfilled. What he thought would happen hadn’t — the kingdom had not been restored to the Jews and here he sat in prison. Is this how his life was supposed to be? Suffering in prison wasn’t what John thought would happen … not at all.

My journey as a parent hasn’t been what I expected, either. There was no suffering in the story I had written for our family.

What about yours?

Lord, you’ve allowed me to experience a lot of pain and suffering. I never thought this would happen to me … I don’t understand. It doesn’t feel fair. Didn’t I pray hard enough? I thought you wouldn’t let anything bad happen to your followers or our loved ones. I don’t know how much longer I can take the pain. I thought you loved me.

Sometimes we have faulty expectations of God — especially where our children are concerned. These are five of the most common mistakes we make.

Five Faulty Expectations of God:

  1. He’ll keep his promises in our time frame.

God’s timing is never ours.  …my thoughts are not your thoughts; and your ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55: 8 NIV). We need to surrender control. When we do, that’s often what frees God up to move, though not always on our timetable. Here is a list of promises God has made to us.

  1. He won’t give us more than we can handle.

This isn’t what the Bible means when it says, …he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). God does give us more than we can handle. He does this all the time. But we’re not left alone. He will help us. We can grow to be comfortable knowing we can’t cope with everything on our own. Our part is to trust and lean on our heavenly Father. With him, we can do what we never thought possible.

  1. He’ll make things fair and always do what’s right for us.

Life isn’t fair. That makes us angry. However, God gives us no guarantee of things working out like we want. As a matter of fact, Jesus guaranteed problems and unfairness, but he promised to help us overcome. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b NIV)  In him, we can be victorious. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ… (2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV).

       4. He’ll change our circumstances if we pray hard enough or have enough faith.

We need to trust that God is at work in us and in our circumstances. Our situation usually doesn’t change until we’ve changed — until God’s done with how he wants to grow us. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). When we are weak, then we are strong in him.

Don’t be attached to an outcome. Be attached to God!

  1. He’ll keep us safe. Nothing bad will happen to us or those we love. (How I wish this was true!)

One day Jesus sent his twelve disciples out to do the work he’d called them to do (Matthew 20:18). Eventually, ten of them would die a martyr’s death. Jesus never promised safety, but he did promise that nothing could ever separate us from his love or his presence (Romans 8: 38-39). And we’re promised something else … something far better we all desire … His peace.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you … (Isaiah 26:3 NLT).

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you … do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27 NIV).

We’re Full of Doubts

Photo cred. Scott Rodgerson on unsplash

When we’re in pain, we begin to doubt. Does God know? Does he care? Memories of his former goodness weaken. We develop spiritual amnesia. We forget what we once knew.

We need to remember what’s true about who God is and what he’s done for us.

He is the all-powerful and almighty Creator for whom nothing is too hard. He is ever-present; always with us. He is love and he loves us with a perfect, unconditional, everlasting love. He is full of grace and compassion, the Redeemer who freely offers forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation to all who come to him, the author of salvation. He is all-knowing; the source of unlimited wisdom about everything and everyone who ever lived. He is eternal. He has no beginning or ending. He’s the Alpha and Omega; existing outside of time, perfectly self-sufficient, needing nothing from anyone. He’s the one who can help us with anything. He is the Trinity — God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit — a glorious mystery. He is holy, pure, never changing, inerrant, existing in perfect light. And he is our Healer — of the whole person — body, mind and soul. He is our Comforter, Heavenly Father, Advocate, and Helper through the Holy Spirit. I could go on.

When we suffer, he suffers too. He weeps with us (John 11:35).

Our pain hurts his heart because Divine love is a suffering love.

Weary parent or grandparent, please don’t forget how much he cares for you, loves you, and hurts with you. I’ll say it again:

Divine love is a suffering love.

Pray with me: Lord, please help me remember my faulty expectations the next time I doubt and don’t understand your ways. Help me trust you more and focus on truth. Thank you that I do not suffer alone. And above everything else, teach me how to be attched to you instead of to an outcome that I have no control over. In your Son Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.

Recommended Book

 Engaging Today’s Prodigal: Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope by Carol Barnier.


What faulty expectations do you have? How do you cope with the disappointment?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

***Today’s content is based on a message given by Ben Markham, our church discipleship pastor (Discovery Church, Orlando, FL).


  1. Lisa Pless

    Hi Dena-I don’t know if you remember me but I reached out to you just about this time last year with a daughter who was in a same sex relationship with a girl who was a “recovered” heroin addict who she met a Christian college. This past year has been the hardest year of my life.Our daughter did graduate from college but has returned to this relationship and is preparing to move to Seattle.Right now she is moving alone but I suspect the other will be going shortly.We will have a few days with her before she leaves but I know that saying goodbye is going to excruciating!Please pray for us as we send her off and let her go.God Bless this ministry

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Lisa, I was just wondering how you are doing since over a year has passed since your daughter moved to Oregon and your heart was so broken? How can we pray for you today? Also, if you’d like to talk with other Christian parents on the same journey, let me know. I know others who are willing to connect, listen, and share how God has helped them cope and find ways to keep loving and keep the relationship.
      Warmly in Christ and with hope.

    • Teresa J Willis

      Maybe off topic but I need to start somewhere. My son has rejected me with no cause that I can find. He says he loves me but he just won’t let me in. All my questions deliver excuses ~ stupid excuses. We were so close til he met his first girlfriend. I feel like I have to bury him every time I encounter him. When does a parent stop reaching out? This is killing me. It’s been 6 yrs now, I can’t escape this vicious cycle of sorrow. I hate bringing so much sorrow before the Lord so consistently. Advice / counsel needed. Thank you & God bless every broken heart.

      • Cindy

        My adult daughter has also rejected me. I have not been allowed to meet my 2 month old grandson. I have no advise for you except to tell you that you are not alone. I can’t reach out because she’s moved, changed her number and blocked me on all social media. I will never stop trying to reach out and let her know she is loved. No matter how painful the rejection is, that is what I feel Jesus calls us to do. To forgive and love.

        • Tom and Dena Yohe

          Cindy, I will share your message with Teresa. God bless you for reaching out to her from your compassionate heart.
          With deep appreciation,

  2. Nicole Clarke

    Love your straight to the point and honest writing.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you for your comment, Nicole. God’s blessing to you in your work to help families.

  3. Beth

    In James 1:5 I read that if I lack wisdom God will provide if if I ask and give it generously. My husband and I feel like we have no wisdom and never know what to do. There are very few, if any, resources to help us. Thank you for your help.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you for your comment, Beth. We understand your frustration. We depended on that verse in James for years and yes, this is an area we struggled to ever feel like we knew what to do. We felt so ignorant and helpless, so inept – it drove us crazy. And yes, so few resources … especially for Christian families. We’re glad you found us, but so sorry you need us. We pray God will use our ministry to provide a little more help than you’ve found up to this point. Let us know if we can be of any further help in the future. We’re available to schedule personal phone calls, too.

  4. JoAnn

    This post is exactly what I feel God has been teaching me. I have expected that things would go as I had envisioned in my mind if I just trusted God and lived for Him. I am learning that He has never promised that. But, God’s presence is what I need to seek. There will be a day, when in His great love, everything will be made right. I also know that Jesus feels my pain with me. The things that make me sad make Him sad too.