To Parents of Prodigals
The text of Romans 1:18-32 which I preached last weekend is both terribly heavy and extremely relevant for our times. It describes our culture with alarming accuracy. “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man…” (Romans 1:22–23) This tragic trade takes a wide array of destructive forms.
Nowhere are these devastating lies more heartbreaking than in their impact on our nation’s young people, who are embracing destructive identities and lifestyles in droves. As I was preaching at each service, I was inwardly sharing the sorrow of the many parents in our church family whose children are wandering into these deceptive lifestyles seeking happiness. I have prayed alongside many of these parents for years and we sometimes struggle to maintain hope they will repent and turn to Jesus. It just seems impossible.
To all parents of prodigals, I would call you to stand near the Father in Jesus’ famous parable and learn from him. Let us learn his heart of mercy and forgiveness, which was evident even on the son’s day of departure. The young son essentially wished his father dead in asking for his inheritance early, and yet the Father did not respond with bitterness or vengeance. Rather, he reluctantly and sorrowfully granted the request.
After he left, the Father did not try to forget his lost son, but remembered him constantly. He did not remember him only with sorrow but also with hope, praying without ceasing that his wayward son would repent and return.
How long did he do this? Jesus simply says that the Father watched and waited “for a long time.” That phrase is a call to Christ-like perseverance.
We are frail and vulnerable and our hope will inevitably ebb and flow over the years. But let us quietly resolve to never quit praying in the hope that our wandering children will, like the prodigal son, “come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26)
Our God can certainly do this work of grace. After all, he saved us.