Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Many of us who are parents have children who have walked away from the Lord. It’s a tough place to be there. Watching your children make poor decisions is no easy task. As you see them make mistakes, you might start to think back over the years and try to pinpoint where you went wrong. You wonder what you could have done differently to prevent your children from putting their faith on the back burner.
Proverbs 22:6 is a promise all parents should cling to, but it can be difficult to believe when your child seems to have departed from his training. You begin to question if your child will ever return to the Lord.
Several years ago, my father-in-law gave my wife some great parenting advice. He said, “Honey, I know as a parent, you’ve done the best that you can do. If you think about it, the greatest father that Israel could have ever had was the Father. He was the perfect Father, but Israel still rebelled.”
You can do all the right things, but you could still have a child who chooses to do their own thing, their own way, for their own glory and their own agenda. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
There are two very important things you can do during a season like this. The first thing is that you must continue to be an example to your children in your own walk with God. Whether they admit it or not, your children are watching you. They are looking to see if you practice what you preach, and if you are living out your own faith. Be diligent in setting a godly example for your children by the way you act, speak, and relate to others.
The second thing is to continue to pray for your children. From your vantage point, nothing may seem to be changing or progressing in your child’s life. Only God can see what is happening in someone’s heart. You never know how the Lord could be working in someone else’s life. Even when you can’t see any evidence of growth, change, or remorse; keep praying for your children. Ask God to do an incredible, redemptive work in their lives.