Rebellious and Obstinate Children

This is from a post that I posted last year. I am reposting it for someone - you know who you are. :-) Just remember we are not alone God walks with us and He also provides those brothers and sisters around us who will walk along side us without judgment or a critical spirit. Remember I love you!

Sometimes the heartbreak of my soul feels like it will crush me. My soul cries out to God during these times for only in Him can I find comfort and peace. A mothers heart so often stays in the place of brokenness when she must walk in the way of a rebellious child. Can you hear her heart breaking? Do you sit in judgement or do you walk beside her and help carry her through?

I was reading today in Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3, and as I read I realized that sometimes God sends us to minister to those who are going to be difficult and they are not going to listen, for they are rebellious. I wondered why? Why would God send someone to speak the Word to those who He knew would not listen. As I read on I saw that maybe it doesn't have as much to do with the one listening but the who is speaking.

When dealing with rebellious children (whether they are your own or those you minister to) I find several things we can learn from Ezekiel. First, it is not a surprise to God. In Chapter 2 verse 4 God tells Ezekiel that "I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate". There is a reason that God has you right where you are in the midst of a rebellious people. God will use you and them for His glory for that is why He has sent you to them and not someone else. As I've walked through the valley of raising rebellious children I find that God speaks to me in a soft, still voice. For me, this is what He has chosen to use to clean out all the impurities in my heart, this is what he uses to refine me.

The second thing I see is that we need to be obedient to the truth of His word. Even though it does not seem that anyone is listening to what you are saying, it is as if it's "falling on deaf ears" we still need to speak truth. Have you ever had those times when you are speaking to a child whose heart is far from God and you're thinking "they just aren't getting it"? God says "speak with my words to them". In chapter 3 verse 6-7 I caught something that was very interesting. God says "I am sending you to a people of intelligence who should listen to you, but they will not for they do not even listen to me" (paraphrased). But even so, God says in verse 11 "speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not".

Why should we speak if they are not going to listen? Verse 17 says that we are to be a watchman over them. Whenever you hear a word from God we are to warn them. But why warn them if they aren't going to listen? Verses 19-21 tells me that even if it seems futile I must give God's warning to them. God is working is this persons life and He will use me to speak His warnings, if I do not speak them then I will be accountable for my disobedience. By speaking truth, even when it seems the person is not listening, may save his life down the road, for he might heed the warning at a later time.

The third truth I saw was that "the hand of God" is upon us during these times. (vs 22) We do not go through these times alone, God is walking with us. The Spirit helps us to stand (vs24) when we can not. The Spirit also will help us to "shut up" when we need to be silent. Oh how difficult this is as a parent! I have learned along the way that there are those times when I sense that God just wants me to "Go, shut yourself up in your house". I usually just go to my room and cry out to God. If I did not go into another room and "shut myself up" I know my flesh would speak. If God is not giving me words to speak then I need to shut up! But when God does open my mouth I need to not fear or be dismayed, I need to speak the Word of God.

A personal note here. I know there are many parents whose hearts are breaking for their children. Some are openly rebellious and seem completely lost, others are what I call spiritual wanderers, regardless of the degree of rebelliousness, know that this is not a surprise to God. He walks with you and my experience tells me that He will use this time to grow you unto Himself.

I have learned that during these heartbreaking times I need to walk in the strength of my Lord. I need to "work out" my righteousness before God. I need to do that which I can do, speak truth, pray and rest in God's sovereignty. Then I need to step back a allow God to do that which He can do. God convicts of sin, God changes character, and God will pursue His children until the end.

Some will judge you, it's sad but true. They will look upon you as if you did this to your child. I know of no mother that holds her new born child in her arms and says "I pray I raise a child who will rebel against God". No, if you are like me you hold them in your arms and rock them each day while they are yet babies and pray to God that they grow to "Love the Lord their God with their whole heart." There are no guarantees in this life, no parent is perfect, we do make mistakes, and yet some make more than others, but God has given each of us (including our children) a free will. A parent needs to come to the point where they can say "I have done the best I could with what God has shown me. And I have tried to be obedient to God in the way I have raised my children. Yes I have failed, I have made mistakes, but God can work in spite of my weaknesses".

For this I have learned; that God is Sovereign over ALL things -both good and bad. He can use ALL things to bring honor and gory to His name. He works in me and through me in spite of my weaknesses and failures.


  1. I so loved your post today..... There are so many broken mothers that are standing in the gap for a rebellious child. I have a son that has been gone for years now and I have cried out all the tears and now I just stand in the gap..... and yes we are called to speak when no one wants to hear but we speak anyway.......... God knows and God watches these children regardless of their age.... I am standing still and trusting God...

    Love ya...... and if you dont mind say a little prayer for my back... I am really trying to avoid surgery........

  2. I happened upon this post tonight because it was what I needed to read. I am dealing with several adult family members that are rebellious in their beliefs(my sis even lives with us~i am hoping God uses us as an influence on her) I was also bemoaning the fact that I am teaching a Sunday School class for the first time ever and a notorious child in our church happens to be in our class. I found myself telling God that I was ill equiped to deal with her rebellion! Thanks for sharing this post!

    By the way, you have the most gorgeous blog that I have ever seen. I am partial to butterflies myself!


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