Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west. I will gather you, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.
Never Give Up
You may not even be able to say anything to your prodigals right now. Perhaps your prodigal son, daughter, or grandchild won’t even talk to you anymore. Perhaps it’s because they are under conviction that the life they are living is wrong. Maybe you’ve pressured them too much. Whatever their state, never give up on them and continually pray for them. I realize that Isaiah 43 is about Israel returning to God, but surely this could be said about God’s desire that our prodigals would return to Him, too. It is God Who does the saving in the first place (Acts 2:47), but we can never faint or waver in our prayers for them (Luke 18:1) because love never, ever fails (1 Cor 13:8).
Tell Them You Love Them
Even if all you can tell them is that you love them, don’t fail to tell them that just because they haven’t returned to you or to the Lord. God is patient and long-suffering, and He doesn’t want any of them to perish (2 Pet 3:9). The word used for long-suffering means to be extraordinarily patient, almost supernaturally patient, and since that is what God is toward us, we must also be that toward our prodigals. The Greek word used for the word long-suffering (some translations say patient) is “makrothymeō,” and it means “to be of a long spirit, to not lose heart, to persevere patiently and bravely,” so that is what the prodigals’ parents and grandparents must do. Never let them see you lose your patience over them being a prodigal because that might make them more resistant to coming back to you. The more loving and patient you remain, the easier it will be for them if they decide to come back. The last thing we want to do is make it harder for them to come back to us.
Keep the Lines Open
Just imagine your prodigals as being on the other end of a phone line. If you say the wrong thing in anger or frustration, they might just hang up. By all means, keep that line of communication open because God might send His Spirt to convict them of where they are (Ezk 11:19-20). You can still send those Christmas cards, birthday cards, and even a greeting card for no particular occasion. Let them hit rock bottom if that’s what it takes. The last thing you want to do is keep sending them money because you might be getting between the rock (the bottom) and the hammer (God’s working in their lives). If you keep sending them money, you might just be enabling them to continue to stay away.
A Closing Prayer
Great God in heaven, we all at one time were prodigals. I myself ran from You, oh God, for so many years, but I know according to the Bible that you sent the hounds of heaven to pursue me with a holy, passionate love that never gave up on me. Thank You, Lord, for never giving up on me when others would have and should have long ago. I pray these things in Jesus’ precious name.
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