Hope for the Prodigal
Many godly families have prodigal children. This has been a reality since the beginning of time. The story of Cain in Gen 4:1--16 is a story of a prodigal child. Jesus shares a parable of a prodigal child in Luke 15:11--32. Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son focuses upon this reality. My brother is a prodigal. Many of you have prodigal children. History provides example after example of prodigals.
As Christian parents, we long for our children to know Christ. We shed tears in praying for them. We beg God to save them and use them for his glory. One fear I have is that I would pour out my heart in preaching to others and yet my own children would reject Christ. I know many of you share these fears. Maybe some of you are living these fears.
For those who have a prodigal, I want to encourage you with three exhortations. The first is to persist in trust. When you spend years praying for your children's salvation and yet they choose a reprobate lifestyle, it is easy to distrust God. "Where are you, God?" you might lament. Such a response is understandable, albeit not excusable. God calls you to continue to trust him. God promises to be faithful to you. Trust what he says, not what your current circumstances lead you to believe.
Second, persist in prayer. It's easy to stop praying when our prayers go unanswered. Jesus knows this. He spoke about it in his earthly ministry. In Luke 18:1--8, Jesus shares a parable "to show [his disciples] that they should always pray and not give up." Jesus knows exactly what you experience. What does he want you to do? Keep praying. He is listening.
Third, persist in hope. With hope, Christians can persevere through any trial. Without it, our faith withers and dies. We can always have hope for our prodigal children, because God is the God of hope (Rom 15:13). He knows what will ultimately happen with your child. You don't. Hope in his vantage point, not in your own.
God cares for you, parent of a prodigal. He loves you, is for you, and is orchestrating all things for your benefit in Christ. Persist in your efforts for your child. God promises that your efforts are not in vain.