by Richard DeFord, Associate Pastor Katy Park Baptist Church
During a recent conversation with a chaplain trainer who is helping me be a better counselor, he asked me a very interesting question: "Do you have any fears right now?" I do not consider myself a fearful person. Growing up in Florida, my longtime fear was always sharks. That fear was not based on reality nearly as much as a certain movie that came out during my childhood.
I pondered his question and the main thing I could think of was the fear that my children would reject the faith I have lived and go their own way. I bet there are parents reading this who either have that same fear, or that fear has been realized as their child has made decisions that have caused separation.
In the Bible, the priest Samuel had a similar problem. Here was a man who was renown across the world of that day and age for speaking for God. He ultimately identified the King who would lead Israel. He was a powerful man of God. Yet we find in 1 Samuel 8 that his children did not follow the God of Samuel and had become greedy.
Perhaps you are reading this and you have a wayward child. There is hope. Perhaps you are reading this and you are the wayward child. There is hope for you too!
Jesus beautifully articulated that God knows exactly what you are going through as he told the story of the Prodigal Son. A boy left the confines of his wealthy father's estate and squandered his inheritance on sinful living. In the end he realized that he never wanted for anything at his father's house and so he resolved to return home as a servant. But the story takes a dramatic turn when we see the Father, lovingly longing and looking for his son every day at the end of the road. When he sees his son afar off, he runs to him -- the only time we hear of God running in scripture.
The Bible says that we too are like sheep who have gone astray. Each one of us to our own way. And God longs for us to return to him. God knows firsthand the pain and heartbreak of a wayward child. And yet he anxiously waits for your return to him.
If you have a wayward child, take heart. Pray continually. God knows your heart. If you are that wayward child, don't you know how much your parent longs to be reconciled to you? And if you are reading this and you know you have made decisions that God is displeased with, focus on the fact that God loves you and wants to reconcile with you. Return to him as a servant and be prepared to receive the full blessing that only God can give.