No one is in your life by accident. That’s a phrase I often repeat to myself to remind me that every person in my life is important and God placed them there for some reason.

For example, your parents are not an accident. For me, that’s very easy to say because God gave me wonderful godly parents. How blessed I am. But because I have been so blessed, I am also doubly responsible. To whom much is given, much is required, so those of us who have had good relationships with our parents need to be aware that God expects us to show the fruit of that blessing.

Some of you, however, have had difficult relationships with your parents, some even abusive and evil. How can it be true that those parents were meant to be? My good friend tells of how she had to come to grips with the fact that her father was the father God chose for her, because he was not an easy father to live with. He was demanding, bombastic, controlling, and difficult to please, and even into her adult years, she harbored some resentment toward the way he had treated her.

One day as she was thinking about her father and feeling resentful, she was very conscious of God’s voice to her saying, “I chose your father just for you.” That was a totally new thought to her, and her response was, “Well, Lord, I’ve been mad at Daddy all these years for the way he treated me when I should have been angry at you.” In her honesty she simply verbalized what she felt—why would God choose a father for her that caused her such grief and pain?

But shortly thereafter she accepted her father, though not really understanding it completely, and chose to believe that he was the right father for her. As time went on she began to see so clearly how God had shaped her through her father, and how some of his traits that she had inherited were being used mightily by God. Without that particular father she would not have been who she is nor had the ability to minister to so many others as she did through many years.

The secret, of course, was coming to the place of acceptance. That person in your life right now that is there not by your choice and is one you cannot avoid—whether it’s a parent or sibling or some other relative—God has a plan to use that person to shape you beautifully. Don’t you think Joseph must have wondered why God would have given him such cruel brothers? But in the end he was able to say that they had intended evil for him but God had turned it into good. God can do that for your close relationships that have been difficult or even abusive, if you will ask him to do so, and accept by faith that they are not in your life by accident.