After reading the post on Monday, about struggling friends, I heard from a friend. He wrote of his child, “I fear he is bent on self destruction and it’s breaking my heart. He is my only son.”
Here’s an edited version of what I wrote back:
- God understands exactly what it is like to have people wander away, stop listening, choose bad advice. The garden, Adam and Eve, temptation, rebellion. When you talk with God, you can say “so You know how I feel.”
- I understand the self-flagellation, wanting to know what you could have done differently. But if the rebellion happened to God who is perfect, you can lighten up on yourself a bit.
- You can say, “God, if I did mess anything up, if there are things I have done that are keeping my son from you, please forgive me.” And you can know that he forgives.
- God loves your son more than you do.
- You can ask God to put people around him that will care for him.
- You can weep. There is nothing untrusting about doing that.
- You can watch out your window at work, up the road that leads from your house. And back. In the story we know as the prodigal son, the father goes running when the son wakes up and comes home. What that means is that the father was watching. And praying. For a long time. And the son had gone as far as he could go, broke, homeless, starving. What was important to the son is that he knew his father would at least hire him, that he was fair.
All of this is way easier to write, I told my friend, than it is to live. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
And I said I’d pray.