Summary: God loves me too much to save me from all of my struggles
Most of you are probably familiar with the term “helicopter parent”. But just in case you aren’t, this short video does a pretty good job of showing what that term means.
[Show “Copter Mommy” video]
Although helicopter parenting might seem harmless, it seems like we are seeing its impact more and more in our culture. This week I read an article by Indiana University psychologist Chris Meno who described how over-involved “helicopter parenting” is taking a toll on college students who are experiencing high levels of anxiety and even depression because they are unable to function independently of their parents.
Meno writes about parents who still treat their college-age children to the same full service parenting they have implemented since birth – paying bills, doing laundry, and even contacting professors about their child’s exams or insisting that a test be re-graded. In commenting on the high levels of anxiety and depression among these students Meno writes:
When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem-solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and disappointing others.
At this point I know a lot of you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with our study in the book of Romans. Here’s how it fits. I think a lot of us have been misled into believing that God is a “helicopter God” – that He is constantly hovering over us to make sure that we don’t get hurt or that we don’t experience troubles in our lives.
Unfortunately that distorted view of how God treats His children has often been perpetuated by those who claim to be Christians. Certainly those who preach a “health and prosperity” gospel are guilty of furthering the idea of a God who only brings happiness and comfort to His children. But even within more orthodox Biblical Christianity we have sometimes been guilty of attributing certain sayings to the Bible which just aren’t there. For instance, how many times have you heard someone say something like this?
God will never give you more than you can handle.
The problem with that saying is that it’s not in the Bible. In fact, as we’ll see this morning, not only are those words not in the Bible, we can’t even find that concept in the pages of Scripture. About the closest that the Bible gets to that idea is in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where we are promised that we won’t be tempted beyond what we can bear and that God will always provide a way of escape from that temptation.
But God never promises to protect us from or to remove us from the struggles in life. In fact, as we’ll see this morning…
God loves me too much to
save me from all of my struggles
Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 5. I’m going to read once again this morning, the passage that we looked at last week. You can follow along as I begin in verse 1 and read through verse 11.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
(Romans 5:1-11 ESV)
As I mentioned last week, these 11 verses form a cohesive unit so we need to look at them as a whole. And when we do that find two big ideas there. Last week we looked at the first big idea, which is the foundation on which we will build the idea that we’ll develop this morning. Let’s take a moment to quickly review what we learned last week.