Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lessons From My Grandparents For All Whose Children Have Turned Away Or Denied The Faith

I was sitting here thinking about a conversation with a parent whose child had just announced to her that she no longer believed in God. As I thought, it dawned on me that both sets of my grandparents lived through the same or similar situations. Over a half century ago, my father took up the prodigal, cynical, God-denying life. This son of a preacher did so until he was 61 years old.

Some time after he became a follower of Christ, he told me, "Your Daddy Roy (my preacher grandfather) would be so proud of you, that you're a pastor. I'm so proud of you. I just wish I hadn't wasted all those years."

Both sets of my grandparents followed Jesus. Daddy Roy and Gran were pastor and pastor's wife for all of my life. Paw-paw and Na-na were deacon and deacon's wife for all of my life. They are all gone now, enjoying the fruit of their faith in Heaven. None of them were perfect, but you could see the impact Christ had in their lives. You could also see the impact a wayward adult child had on their lives.

I wish I could talk with them, get their counsel to help me as I pastor in this world in which it seems more and more are apostate - turning away from the faith. While I can't sit down and ask how they made it through with their faith intact, I can remember what they taught me as they lived out their Christian faith.

Here are some lessons I learned and pass on to any who are living with an adult prodigal. First, they continued to love. I never questioned their love for me or for their prodigals. Disagreement, yes. Hatred, no. Compromise, never. Love, always. Second, they remained true to Christ. If they were at our home or if we were at theirs, they prayed, shared Christ and went to worship services. Third, they prayed. One time after my grandmother's death, my mother told me how she used to stay up late and talk with Gran. She shared with me how Gran had cultivated a life of constant prayer and how she had prayed for my father. I used to think Gran was just muttering all the time. It was only as an adult that I discovered she was praying.

So, if your child (teen or adult) has become a prodigal, I share the lessons of my grandparents with you. Love them no matter what they believe, say or do. Remain steadfast in your devotion to Christ and His church, no matter what that costs you. Pray, not just often, but all the time . . . maybe even begin muttering to God about your prodigal.