Point your kids in the right direction – when they are old, they won’t be lost. Proverbs 22:6 (Message)

The holidays are especially difficult for people waiting for a prodigal to come home. Many are hoping that children, spouses, and friends will return to their faith and leave the destructive lives they are living. Empty chairs at dinner tables during the holidays are stark reminders that not everyone has decided to follow the Prince of Peace.

Recently, it seems I have spoken with scores who are feeling this pain and often I quote the Scripture above from Proverbs 22:6. I am not attempting to give them simple answers to complex situations, but this promise is rich, still. Most parents are hard on themselves, remembering all their failures when their children were home. All of us who have ventured on this road have stumbled along the way, wishing we had been more intentional with our message or our witness.

This passage is so hopeful, not because it promises an instant result from a prescribed spiritual formula, but because the real hope is not in our prowess as parents, but in the faithfulness of God who created our children in the first place. He is faithful to our kids and he wants our faith even when there is no proof that those we love are even paying attention to God.

The Holy Spirit is really good at getting our attention, especially when the prodigal has reached the bottom. Parents have told me that jail and prison were the salvation of their kids because nothing else seemed to shake them from their deception. I sure hope none of our kids end up behind bars, but I am prayerful that all of our kids will have deep revelation of just how much grace there is for them.

This I know – we must be faithful parents who speak truth, love deeply, extend extravagant grace, build real relationships with our kids and pray always for their heart to know Christ. Even after all this, I am even more hopeful that God is with our kids and will one day, bring them home.

If you want read more about this, get a copy of Sons and Daughters which tells the stories of many prodigals who have found their way home, including me.

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