(Not So) Helpful Comments: God knows best.

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a woman holding a sweater over her mouth on "Not So Helpful Comments: God knows best" on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog

When I began the series, “Not So Helpful: Things You Shouldn’t Say to the Childless,” I knew that I wanted to talk about some of the “religious comments” that people make.  Being a Christian, I don’t particularly like using the term “religious” because of all the negative connotations that come along with this word.  Discussing that would be an entire blog in itself, however.  So, I’ll stick to the topic at hand—the (not so) helpful comment, “God knows best.”  (We’ll talk about why “not so” is in parentheses in a bit…)

(Not So) Helpful Religious Comments

Personally, I believe that comments which involve religion, spirituality, Christianity, and/or God have the greatest potential to cause the childless pain, despite the fact that they are normally said with the aim of showing unconditional love.

So, how can something said with the purest of intentions, meant to help and heal, cause a pain that cuts so deep that it actually causes some to turn away from God completely?  Well, let’s think about this…

Why haven’t I been blessed?

The person who cannot have a child is often wondering why she hasn’t been blessed.  For me, these thoughts ran through my mind more than once…

  • Do I not have enough faith that He can actually do miracles?
  • Do I not believe enough that He can allow me to get me pregnant?
  • Am I not praying enough?
  • Does God know that I would be a horrible mother, so He is saving me from myself?

And I am not alone in these feelings and thoughts.  Even those who don’t involve the spiritual side wonder, “Would I be an awful mother?  Is that why I can’t get pregnant?”

God knows best . . .

So, when someone says, “God knows best…”  Well, if we are in the pit, battling the questions in our mind, questioning our worth, wondering why we aren’t good enough to be “blessed” with children…  Telling us that “God knows best” can sound like, “Yep. He sure does know you’d be a terrible mother, so He’s not going to let that happen.  He knows better than to give you a kid.”

Now, I understand that this isn’t the intended meaning behind the comment, “God knows best.”  For Christians, “God knows best” is rooted in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”  Christians proclaiming, “God knows best,” are trying to tell the childless who are struggling that God will give them an abundant, beautiful life full of blessings and love.  But as I said, that’s often not what the person who is hurting hears…

Reciting Bible Verses does not help . . .

Unfortunately, reciting Bible verses does not help clarify the meaning.  When emotions are raw, triggers happen quickly, and the pain they cause is deep, intense, and often slow to fade.  In fact, once triggered, many childless shut down, continuing the internal dialogue mentioned above, and do not hear anything else you say.  They are on the defensive, looking for a way out, and again feel that no one understands what they are going through.  And so, they find a way to retreat, in an effort to avoid more pain caused by not so helpful comments…

All too often, this retreat means leaving the Church, which seems to be full of caring, yet clueless people, who continue to say not so helpful things, and events (such as Fall Festivals, Christenings, and Mother’s Day Services) which trigger our pain.  Besides, why would one want to worship a God who “knows best,” allowing those who don’t appreciate the blessing of children to have them and those who long to be parents to remain childless?  If this God “knows best,” then many childless want no part of Him…

And, to me, that is absolutely heart breaking.

God helped me through the struggles, not people’s platitudes…

The only way I made it through my struggle is by the grace of God.  But, you know what?  No one at my old Church ever told me, “God knows best,” with regards to my infertility and childlessness.  In fact, our pastor connected my husband and me with people who had gone through IVF, as well as those who had adopted, when we asked for his assistance in deciding how to build our family after learning of our severe infertility.  People prayed with us and for us, never making me feel like I was doing something wrong, like I didn’t have enough faith, like I needed to believe more…

You know who did tell me, “God knows best…”  I did.  I told myself that God knows best.  But I don’t remember saying this in the midst of our battle.  No, I told myself this once I came to the other side, once I accepted that we would indeed live a childless not by choice life.  I believe Jeremiah 29:11, and I know that God has only good plans for me; therefore, my childlessness couldn’t possibly be all bad.  Because He allowed it, and He loves me and designed me just as I am, broken uterus and all.

Now, not all agree with what I just said.  And that’s okay.  I’m not telling you that you must.  I’m simply saying that this is where I am on my journey—my childless journey as a Christian woman.  I am at the point where “God knows best” is helpful…

(Not So) Helpful: God knows best.

And that is why I put the “not so” in parentheses.  Because for some, “God knows best” is just not so helpful.  For others, it can be helpful…  But truly, only if the person comes to believe this on her own.  I’m not sure it’s ever a helpful comment when someone is struggling and coming to you for comfort and understanding.


If, like me, you believe God loves us and wants only good things for us, then rather than telling someone, “God knows best,” pray that God will show His love, peace, kindness, mercy, and goodness to those who are hurting.  Pray that they will feel His best, that they will turn towards Him instead of away from Him.  But there is no need for you to tell them that you are going to pray for them…  Especially if you don’t know the person’s relationship with God.   Because, as I said before, this could actually cause the person to turn away even more.

“God knows best” may bring comfort…

Now, I’m not saying to never speak of God or tell others of His love.  I know that not all of my readers here at Not So Mommy… are Christian.  I know that some have completely turned from God.  And yet, here I am stating that I am Christian and the phrase “God knows best” does bring me comfort.

But it can cause pain, too.

But I am also showing how this statement can cause pain…  And I am asking you to stay away from using it in an effort to avoid, not only triggering sadness in those struggling, but to also keep them from moving even further away from God…

Yes, let’s please agree to remove “God knows best” from our go-to list of platitudes that we extend to the childless.  Heck, let’s agree to remove it from the list of what we say to anyone who is struggling.


If anything I wrote resonates with you, fabulous one, I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

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Featured Photo:  Remy_Loz on StockSnap.io

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Judy Odum October 20, 2018 - 9:06 am

This is so good!

Brandi Lytle October 22, 2018 - 10:07 am

Thank you! 🙂

Sherry October 18, 2018 - 7:52 am

Silent prayers and hugs work for all hurts.

Brandi Lytle October 18, 2018 - 11:44 am



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