photo by dearoot
One of the benefits of being a mature woman in Christ is that I get to use hindsight to my advantage. Having been there and done that should account for something, after all. It was often difficult to see it at the time, but experience really is the best teacher.
Having a blended family with a lot of transitioning between homes and where the other home was not founded on biblical truths created a confusing dichotomy for my two stepsons. It’s really hard to maintain a godly focus 24/7 when part of that time you’re allowed to cave to whatever fleshly whim you desire.
For one son, the pull of the world became too great. At age eighteen he elected to pull up roots, forsake his family and the God of our home and live life according to his desires. He found himself drifting from one friend’s home to the next, indulging in activities both unhealthy and illegal and eventually finding accommodations courtesy of the local sheriff’s department.
While there was a respite from the rebellion in our home, I can’t begin to describe to you what it’s like to pray in agony for a child gone astray. As we received news of his whereabouts and activities we could only intensify our prayers that the biblical teaching of his youth would not come back void.
I even found myself asking God to do whatever it took to bring this son to a point of seeking forgiveness and returning to a biblical foundation in his life. All the while we kept telling him he had a place back home if he ever wanted to give up the riotous living.
That was back in 2003, during the summer, when he left our home, our family and our family’s walk in faith.
This past Christmas, he came home. The story of the prodigal son played out right before our eyes. I could tell he was nervous, uneasy about fitting in, celebrating as a family. We tried our best to not be too over the top, and in a few days he made the decision to stay.
What’s interesting about the prodigal son story is that it doesn’t elaborate past the initial celebration. Our life is going through a lot of transition right now. Our son has been clean for a little while, found gainful employment, is attending church with us and even attended his first Bible study group last night. But there are still hints that his old life beckons, and so a new agony has set in.
So, what, life has no guarantees, right? Not if I insist on things going my way. When I put things in my own hands life becomes no more than a huge crapshoot. There’s no way I can do it on my own.
My husband and I had put the life of our son in the hands of the One who could make things happen. We had been faithful in teaching all our children from God’s Word and we knew that His Word would not return void. He said that if we trained our children in the way they should go that when they got older they would not turn from it.
It was on those promises that I staked my claim for my son. I knew he would come back to us. I didn’t know when. I’d hoped it was before I died so I could see Christ in him for myself and enjoy the celebration.
That’s all God asks of us. Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.” We were told to teach God’s truths to our children when we sat at home, when we went out, when we went to bed and when we got up, and we did. Our child’s salvation is not up to us. We can only obey. We have to leave the results up to the Lord.
So, no, life doesn’t come with any guarantees. I wish I could promote The Greatest Mission Trip ministry as the answer to all your problems and that by following my suggestions and ideas to the letter you will enjoy successful parenting and happy, saved children.
I can only give you the tools to make God’s Word come alive and the encouragement to keep at it no matter what. I pray you never have to go through a prodigal experience, but if you’re faithful in following God’s will for your family, He will bless you. That is a guarantee.
Please keep our son in your prayers. His name is Michael.