The Cruel, Capricious God of Naive Christians, Concerning Singleness and Marriage – If Only You Had Waited Five More Minutes!
I had tinkered with doing a blog post about this very subject a year or more ago and never got around to it.
(I often have one or two topics mulling in my mind that I would like to blog about but sometimes never get around to writing about them, or only after many months.)
Since I recently addressed this topic in a post on SSB blog, I decided to repeat it here.
I have actually had this happen to me a handful of times on Twitter and Christian forums or blogs.
Someone at the SSB blog, a never married (I believe) adult male who is now past the age of 40 or 50, was remarking how he would have a billion dollars by now, if only he had five dollars every time a Christian had told him since he was a kid, “God will provide you with a spouse.”
I know exactly what he means, because I’ve encountered that cliche’ myself, or seen it repeated in articles for Christian singles many times since I was a kid, too.
Even worse than that is the variation I’ve gotten from one or two other Christians online.
The “If Only You Had Held On, Prayed and/or Trusted and Waited Another ‘X’ Number Minutes, God Was Going to Send You A Spouse” Obnoxious Cliche’
As I remarked on SSB (with a few variations and clarifications added to this version on my blog):
The Christians who utter this variation of the “Trust God to provide you with a spouse” cliche’ tell me not to give up faith in God on this matter right now, because…
(Hold on to your hats!! Get ready!)
What if God was planning on sending me my spouse five minutes from now, and just think,
if only I had held on for another two or five minutes, my dream of marriage would come true!!11!!!1
(I cannot possibly begin to add enough exclamation points to that last statement these types of Christians excitedly quote at me online.)
I don’t find that thought comforting at all, that if only I had waited two more seconds, God would have answered my prayer the way I had hoped and wanted.
On the contrary, it sounds like a cruel and capricious God.
It sounds like something Loki (the prank-pulling deity) from Scandinavian lore would pull on someone.
I don’t want to follow or worship a God who is all like,
- “Christian Pundit,
- I know you prayed to me from a young age for a spouse. But now you’re over 40 and still single.
- “Dang, I was just about to send you a husband at 1:05 P.M. today, but because you gave up, tossed in the towel at 1:04 P.M. today, stopped having faith in me for this right at that time, I am not going to send you that spouse after all. Bazinga!!
- “Just think, if you had had faith for another sixty seconds, I would have answered your prayer in the affirmative.
- “Your loss. Oh so close yet so far away.
- “No banana for you. Wocka Wocka, as Fozzy would say.”
But that is precisely the kind of God some Christians are telling me who I’ve been praying to since my childhood.
That sounds like a jerk God like me, one who withholds help based on a technicality.
Why would I want to trust in or love a God who is so shallow, flippant, and such a huge jerk?
I mean, for reals? God was JUST ABOUT to send me “Mr. Right” but shucky darn, the split second before God was about to cross my path with “Mr. Right” because I gave up, God was all,
- “Nah, not anymore. I know she’s prayed pretty consistently for 3 or 4 decades for this, but because she gave up three seconds or five minutes before the time I had appointed, I’m breaking this thing off.”
That sounds like a real A-hole to me, not a loving, gracious God.
I’m sorry I don’t have anything more thoughtful or insightful to say on this.
It just really bugs me that Christians are promoting this type of thinking, and if God is really like this, he sounds like a real jerk, a creep, and a real loser.
And this is the sort of thing I’ve heard from Christians a small number of times in the last few years.
That they think God was going to give me a spouse, but because I gave up and had doubts or frustrations, God decided at two seconds before the appointed time I was to meet Mr. Right, to instead have my potential future Mr. Right killed in a plane crash, or marry him off to someone else.
Gee muh-nee, no, I don’t want to believe in, trust in, or follow a God who is that cruelly anal retentive. I’m having a hard time seeing that sort of God they are hyping match up with the God of the Bible who was sometimes very forgiving of people, despite their doubts and lack of faith at times.
(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages
(Link): Following the Usual Advice Won’t Get You Dates or Married – Even Celebrities Have A Hard Time
(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40
(Link): Depressing Testimony: “I Was A Stripper but Jesus Sent Me A Great Christian Husband”
(Link): Some Christians Have Some Very Strange, Unsettling, Creepy, or Authoritarian Ideas About Marriage, Divorce, or Mate Selection – and they think they should make your life choices for you
(Link): Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work
(Link): A Critique of – 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry by J. Lee Grady / And on Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians
(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage
(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles
(Link): Article by J. Watts: The Scandal of Singleness – singles never married christian
(Link): List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 2 (more cliche’s tossed at singles, other annoyances, etc)
(Link): Does God Require Singles to Be Perfect Before He Will Send Them a Spouse
(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): Pat Robertson Says 44 Year old Never Married Woman Who Wants Marriage is “Desperate”
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
4 thoughts on “The Cruel, Capricious Loki-Sounding God of Naive Christians, Concerning Singleness and Marriage – If Only You Had Waited Five More Minutes!”
Oops, my bad. Things God Taught Me is here on WordPress, not Blogspot. So sorry!
If you want some truly infuriating reading, try thingsgodtaughtme.blogspot.com. The theme there is precisely that if a Christian is not getting positive prayer answers, it’s entirely their fault. The most commented-on entry is “How I got married by prayer.” The author’s story is that he prayed to meet a woman meeting a very specific description within two weeks, and actually met her in half that time. She agreed to marry him right after they met, and they now have a family and all lived happily ever after. Any dissent is met with condescension or even outright hostility, and he takes a very strident tone. He is also dismissive of people who ask him for intercessory prayer. Really, his beliefs are no different than The Secret, the Law of Attraction, etc.
@ Martha Irvin Hankins .
Hi. I read your other posts on the other threads too, don’t know if I will have the time to respond to all of them. Thank you for leaving some feedback.
I figure if my blog here helps anyone at all, maybe it serves as an anti-dote to the victim-blaming, or depressingly super-happy-clappy, vomit-churning, overly optimistic Christian blogs and sites that make you feel like a failure or make you feel bad for whatever – if you want to be married but are still single even after years of praying; if you want to have children but are still infertile, and so on.
So, because this doofus at this other blog thinks prayer worked to bring him a spouse, it works for EVERYONE?
It obviously did not work for me, as I am still single, and I had prayed since youth for a spouse. (I’m in my 40s now.)
I don’t know if I have the fortitude to visit Doofus Man’s blog and read it for myself. It sounds like I may punch a hole through my wall if I visit his blog and read it, so I don’t know if I will visit it or not.
One wonders if Blogger Doofus acknowledges that not all prayers get answered how or when a person wants? And sometimes the answer is “no.”
One also wonders if he acknowledges that prayers for other things people pray for – healing from a sickness, a new job, whatever – also sometimes do not come to pass?
What does the narrow-minded doofus do for all the Christians who prayed for financial help, a marriage to be restored, or for a healing, yet, they died of disease, they had to file for bankruptcy, or their spouse divorced them?
Has the blogging doofus you mentioned here ever visited domestic violence forums and blogs for and by Christians, where Christian women discuss the HORRORS they went through being married to abusive Christian men, and had to divorce those men to stay safe?
Not all Bible-believing, Jesus- loving Christians get fairy tale answers or fairy tale lives after praying and having faith. Some of us prayed for years for a spouse (or healing, or what not) and never got the person or thing we asked for.
The Bible actually mentions this as being a possibility – there are, yes, examples of people who prayed for “X” and got “X,” but there are also people recorded of in the Bible who asked God for “Z” and did not get “Z” (whatever Z may have been).
Apostle Paul says he asked the Lord to remove the thorn from his side, and the Lord was all, “Nope, not gonna do that.”
What happens if Blogger Doofus’s wife (God forbid, I am not wishing any of this on her, only trying to make a point) dies from cancer two years from now, or divorces him in six months for the cute UPS delivery man, or gets hit by a truck tomorrow and dies? That will surely mess with this guy’s theology.
Don’t know if you’ve seen these posts already or would be interested, but I’ve blogged about similar topics before, in regards to some of the points you’ve raised here:
(Link): Christian Double Standard – Pray Earnestly For Anything & Everything – Except Marriage?
(Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency
(Link): When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree
(Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name
(Link): Gordon Robertson’s Quasi Insensitive or Lacking Advice to Cancer Patient / Unanswered Prayer / Christians should just sometimes admit They Do Not Know
Another reason I think that sort of outlook is horrible is Jesus and other passages in the Bible make clear that some stuff in this life time (such as unanswered prayer) is stuff that we will NEVER have the answer to in this life time.
There are passages in the Bible, such as
(Link): Luke 13:4-5 or
(Link): John 9: 2-3
that tell us that sometimes when bad stuff happens to us, or when or if God does not rescue us from X, it is not OUR FAULT, but that God either has purposes in allowing it we won’t understand now, or, it’s due to living in a sin-tainted world.
There are portions of the Bible where God gets very ticked off at believers who presume to speak for him when blaming believers for trials, such as Job’s comforters, who had the audacity to blame Job for Job’s misfortunes. God corrected them and told them they were idiots, and Job did nothing to deserve the bad that befell him.
If I were the Doofus Blogger at that other blog, I’d be very, very careful about ascribing blame to people for when stuff goes wrong in their life, or when or if their prayers don’t get answered how or when they want. He does not know.
Yes, there are a few Bible verses that tell people that their prayers may not be answered (eg, James 4:3, if they are praying from wrong motive, etc), but that guy does not know. The Blogger Guy cannot see into people’s hearts and minds.
I really think this sort of stuff is and should be kept between God and the individual believer – no other Christian can ever really know why God is not responding to your prayer.
All they can do is toss negative motives at you and guess about why your prayers aren’t getting answered.
Every time Christians do this guessing game, they always assume THE WORST about you, they assume the worst about your motives, character, etc – in part because they feel the need to defend God’s character and reputation.
They don’t want you feeling or arguing that God is a heartless, uncaring jerk who does not honor his own promises as recorded in the Bible, so they shift the burden on to the hurting person, which I think is awful and compounds the insult, confusion, and pain the wounded person is ALREADY IN.
Can there be occasions when a person is to blame for their prayer seemingly being ignored by God? I guess so, as there are Bible verses that explain that, but I don’t know if I am comfortable with one Christian trying to determine that for another one.
BTW, that example you gave about Doofus Blogger? I heard a similar thing, only the preacher said it was in regards to a pet dog. His daughter, as a kid, wanted a very specific type of pet dog.
She prayed for one, and weeks later, got the exact dog (down to the color fur, etc) that she had prayed for.
Well that is just peachy for her, but what about the hundreds of other kids who have prayed a similar prayer and got bupkiss nothing squat? Christians don’t like to touch that, or, if they do, they like to blame and blame and blame the one who didn’t get an answer of “yes.”
Again, it will be very interesting when or if his (Doofus Blogger’s) wife divorces him, she has an affair on him, their kid gets cancer and dies, or whatever happens to him.
When life starts to hand him lemons, he will be bound to re-think (and even feel ashamed of) some of the hurtful, condescending views he’s dishing out to his blog visitors now.
He’s one of those people who thinks he knows it all, but when trials hit him, he’ll realize he doesn’t know more than the rest of us.
He must be in his 20s, possibly early to mid 30s? I cannot imagine anyone age 40 or older adhering to his views, since most folks, by 40, have suffered through job loss, death in the family, divorce, medical scares, etc. When your life is a breeze in your 20s and 30s, it’s easy to cling to the theology he is supporting.
I loved everything you said here & at SSB. I went to Bill Gothard’s seminar when I was a wee babe in Christ, came home and explained to my father that I wanted to submit to his authority. My dad didn’t believe in God, he said, “okay honey, this is what I want you to do, get your nose out of that bible, go to a bar & meet a good man.” No, no, no I told him. Guess I wasn’t very good at submitting myself to my dad. lol. So a week later this guy at church asked me out for a date. I told him he would have to call my father & ask his permission. Good ole dad said he seems like a nice guy. Well Mr. nice guy did everything in his power to get me into bed. Bravo to you for being the real deal, I ended up meeting my husband of 28 years at happy hour after work. LOL Dad was a prophet. God Bless you.
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