When Parenting Becomes Painful

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 2
Subject: Family; Parenting; Marriage; Children

Galatians 6:2

This is the second message on parenting in this series. Today we will deal with the "untouchables" - issues that are not often discussed in the church, issues that bring tremendous pain to countless numbers of people; yes, even Christians. They are: Infertility, Rebellion, Death and Single parenting. We will look at: The reality of the problem. The response of the church.

I. The Reality of the Problem

A. Infertility

1 Samuel 1: 1-8. Physicians estimate that 10%-15% of couples in the US experience difficulty in conceiving a child or carrying an unborn child to term. In other words approximately 10 million  couples in America struggle with infertility.

Samuel reveals to us some of the pain associated with this struggle. Couples search for meaning when struggling with infertility. They often ask tough questions. Why is God taking so long? Is there some sin in our lives for which we are being punished? Why us when there are so many abused, neglected, and aborted children? Will I be pregnant next month, or will my hopes be dashed once again? Why is God answering other people's prayers for children and not mine?

Not only is there a search for answers there is also a tremendous struggle that ensues. What is the impact on the couple's lives?

Marital stress. The struggle is a couple's problem, not just one in the marriage. Elkanah couldn't understand Hannah's grief.

Spiritual crisis.

Isolation: everyone around you seemingly have children. Insensitivity.

B. Rebellion

Luke 15: 11-14

The son in the story is called a prodigal. The word literally means "rashly or wastefully extravagant."

Phil Waltrip in his book “Parenting Prodigals" talks about several types of prodigals I want to mention. I am adding one to the list.

i. The embarrassing prodigal

A son in jail

A daughter living with a man to whom she is not married

A son or daughter who has confessed to a homosexual lifestyle.

ii. The defiant prodigal

Theses prodigals are the ones whose desire it is to hurt those closest to them.

iii. The intellectual prodigal

This is one who abandons faith in God.

iv. The religious prodigal

This is one who attaches himself or herself to a cult.

v. The addicted prodigal

This is a prodigal who is trapped by some substance abuse or lifestyle he or she can't break no matter how hard they try. The response varies in the case of the prodigal. Condemnation.


Projected blame.

Fix it mentality.


Quiet hurt.

What resources does the family member of the prodigal have? Scripture: Proverb 22:6. Many look at this as a promise rather than a proverb. These are general truths. Each person has an individual will. What you teach your child will be there for a lifetime. Support. Hope.

C. Death

2 Samuel 18: 24-25; 29-33.

David experienced not only the rebellion of his son Absalom but also the death of this son. One of the unfortunate roles I hold as volunteer chaplain with the police and fire department is the responsibility of making notifications to families when there has been a death. Too many times I have delivered the news that a child has died. The pain of death is a very real and horrible pain. Grief is real.

There is no right or wrong way to handle grief. Those grieving don't recover as quickly as the world does. There is a gamut of emotions. There is God. There is support.

D. Single Parenting

2 Kings 4:1

There are many single parent households in America today. There are significant issues a single parent has to deal with. Being mom and dad. Dealing with divorce while protecting the children. The financial burden. Balancing parenting responsibilities with other responsibilities.

II. The Response of the Church

Galatians 6:2.

A. Silence

Silence is, unfortunately, often the response.

B. Support

Support is needed. Spirituality that is genuine not false is needed.

C. Sharing

Share the burden.

D. Supply

Supply help that is biblically based.