"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him …" (Acts 17:26-27).
Many of us reach an age (I've seen it start as early as the 30s) where it hits us that we got gypped as children. If only we had better parents we would have turned out better; we would have developed our potential-like Marlon Brando said in On the Waterfront, we would have been "a contender."
So we engage in this futile, obsessive pastime of constant morbid reevaluations of our mothers and fathers and upbringings, daydreaming about the great artists or inventors or fabulously wealthy businessmen we would have been, if we had been dealt a better hand.
Of course, like Aslan says in one of the Narnia books, no one is allowed to know the might-have-beens. But let's just say we had been assigned perfect caretakers who had exercised perfect wisdom in raising us. And let's say we had excelled in everything we put our hand to. What then? Would this have necessarily caused us to well up with thanksgiving to God? According to the Bible, is it really the rich who tend to be the most godly (James 2:6)? If we had been rich, would we have taken out our pens and written checks for the poor?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Scripture says God allotted the exact time and place and circumstances of my birth, and yours. Furthermore, He tells us why: He did it so that we would seek after God and perhaps feel our way toward Him and find Him. And many of us have known people who have groped after God because they were miserable, not because they were happy.
All I know is that it was a hole in my soul that made me seek God in the first place in college years (or perhaps before). And to find Him-or be found by Him-is more riches than if I had become "a contender." Thank God if your childhood stank. It eventually brought you to the pathway of eternal life.