Nobody dreams their child will become a prodigal. That happens to other parents. Not me. My parents were Christians. I’m a Christian, and my kids are going to be Christians. In spite of all of our plans, it doesn’t always work out that way.
As a parent you feel your child slipping away. The signs are all there. They break the rules a little more frequently. You can catch them spending time with friends you don’t approve of, and church becomes less and less a priority.
All you want to do is grasp on a little tighter hoping they will stay. Just one more moment of innocence is all you desire. Despite your emboldened prayers and resilient faith, they still walked away. They became the prodigal you never dreamed of having.
Now you feel trapped. All good parents want what’s best for their kids, but your child chose to walk away from the greatest gift ever known. Now you are stuck with loving the prodigal while hating the prodigal’s choices. How do you cope and more importantly how do you help?
Evaluate, apologize, and restore.
Adam and Eve lived in the perfect environment. They still sinned. Judas followed the perfectly leader. He still betrayed Jesus. The perfect dad raised the prodigal son, and he still ran away.
Even if you were the perfect parent, your child’s faith decisions eventually become his or her own problem. You can’t make your child believe. They have to choose for themselves.
So did you make mistakes as parent? Probably. Were there areas where you needed to apologize and improve? Yes! I’m sure of that. When we fail as parents we need to own it. Let our children know we screwed up, and we are sorry.
Evaluate our parental mistakes.
Apologize to our children.
Seek restoration of the relationship.
After taking those steps, you must understand that the rest is on your child. The hardest part about the story of the prodigal son is that the dad let his youngest run away. His boy made his own choice.
The time between a pray said and a prayer answered feels like eternity, especially when it’s about your kid. You must have prayed a 1,000 times:
God bring him back home.
Let her know how much you love her.
Please Lord, reveal yourself to my kid.
All of those prayers after the 1,000th time appear so futile. Your breath feels wasted. Either God isn’t listening or God doesn’t care. At least that’s message you seem to receive.
When you have prayed a 1,000 times and your prayers haven’t been answered, pray another 1,000. Then another 1,000.
Our faithful God answers our faithful prayers. Click to Tweet
So don’t give up on praying. Your prodigal matters to God, and in his perfect timing he will move and act accordingly.
Wait and prepare
The dad was always ready for his son to come home. He saw him coming while he was a long way off (A modern day prodigal). Ran up to him and kissed him.
How long did the dad wait? Was it weeks, months, or even years? We don’t know, but he waited. When the day finally came, he celebrated like crazy. He expected his son to return and was prepared for the day it finally happened.
Just like the father, you must “wait and prepare” for the return of your own prodigal. As you wait there will be tears, sorrow, and doubt. Yet despite all of those feelings, continue to look and long for the day that you see your child coming back home.
Do you have a prodigal child?
How do you handle it?