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If your children have consistently made wise choices, consider yourself blessed, because the enemy has snatched many, many young people. My wife and I have wept a thousand tears and asked a thousand “why’s?” I am the minister of a growing Christian church. We are the parents of a prodigal. It hits you like a ton of bricks when you first learn your child has rejected virtually every biblical principle and value that you have spent years carefully modeling and teaching. When you discover that your son is doing physical, emotional, and spiritual damage to himself, you experience a pain most others cannot understand. Many members of our church have been so kind, so understanding, and so encouraging. Perhaps it’s because they have a prodigal child, or maybe some of them were prodigals.
Whatever the case, they’ll never know how much their support and prayers have meant to us!

Problems Begin
Our nightmare began when our 18-year-old son dropped out of a Christian college after only a few weeks. We were unaware as this bright, talented, athletic young man jumped headfirst into an abyss of drugs, vandalism, and sexual promiscuity. He quickly became an easy target for those living in a dark underworld who prey on naive, unsuspecting, and yet seemingly willing victims. In just a few short months, he faced possible criminal charges, but due to the mercy of some of those in the judicial system, he was released into our custody. We wrongly assumed the nightmare was nearly over, but when his head began to clear of the drugs that had been in his system, he was left with guilt and shame, anger and bitterness. He felt scarred, used, and depressed. He struggled to break free of the destructive cycle that had trapped him. Instead of the prodigal leaving the pigpen and coming home, it seemed like the pigpen had been brought home to us. We faced the agonizing decision of if, when, and how to have our adult son removed from our home.
Some readers of this article have never had to face a decision like this. You will never see your child in a bright orange prison jumpsuit standing before a judge. You will never receive phone calls in the middle of the night from the police. You will never be cursed at or threatened by your child. You will never have your child steal from you or lie to you or sneak out of your home at night. You will never need to raise a grandchild born out of wedlock. You will never be forced to visit your child in a rehab center. You’ll never look for your child among the homeless people who live under bridges and overpasses, wondering if he is dead or alive. If your children have consistently made wise choices, consider yourself blessed, because the number of young people the enemy has snatched has become a national epidemic.


Don’t Jump to Conclusions
You might be speculating about what causes these young people to go astray. “The parents must not have spent enough time with their child.” “There must have been inconsistencies in their lives.” “They must not have taught them the Bible.” “They should have had them in a Christian school.” For years I might have said such things. I lived with a very legalistic, prideful attitude about parenting. I believed that if I did “A-BC,” then my child would do or be “XY-Z.” If I got the formula right, then my children would turn out as I expected. But recently I’ve decided that how children grow up is more about human will and choices than parenting skills. If I had it to do over, I would preach to my children less and be on my knees praying for them more. 


To read in full, please go to http://hhpp-kin.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-am-parent-of-prodigal-name-withheld.html

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