It’s back-to-school season, and parents everywhere are greeting their children with the age-old phrase, “What did you do at school today?”
If your children are like mine were, they’ll answer with a shrug of their shoulders, or say “nothing.” That’s when you stop asking the direct question and learn to wait them out.
Sometimes we, as adults, feel like we’re having the same experience with God. As we go through challenging times with our children, our life seasons, or the unexpected mountains we encounter, we ask God the questions. But instead of giving us clear answers, He appears to us to be shrugging His shoulders in response to our prayers. We have to learn the patience to wait Him out.
My Prodigal Son took a few steps backward this week. As I listened to his wife’s description of what happened, I dropped right back into my old “Why, God?” patterns. During my conversation with my sweet daughter-in-law, though, I was able to talk myself through the old patterns and beliefs. By the end of the conversation, I had been able to come to a much more Spirit-led, correct, and mature conclusion. More about that later.
I had a “moment” this week. It happened when I was helping out at a high-school graduation party for some of the teens in our church youth group. As I watched them joking around with each other, I had a feeling of wanting to keep that evening, to preserve it as it was. This moment can never be re-created because everything, including the kids themselves, will change.
It’s a rare opportunity. I have a prodigal son, soon-to-be-released from prison, who is clear-eyed, grown up, sober, and has returned to the Christ he has known all his life. In a phone call last night, I asked what advice he would give to parents.
Your teen or young-adult child has gone off the rails. They have rejected you, your values, or their former friends. Maybe they’ve dropped out of school or taken up a dangerous or defiant behavior. You feel as if you don’t know them at all–or that you didn’t really know them in the first place.