(Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash)
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
For those of us who have children who walked away from the Lord, it can be heart-wrenching. We may blame ourselves or question what we did wrong. We may start out strong, praying and trying to talk to our child about what they were taught growing up. Eventually, many become weary and just accept things the way they are. They stop talking to their prodigal about their faith, and they stop praying. If they're honest with themselves, they don't know if their child will ever come back to the faith they abandoned. And they give up!
I truly admire women I have met who are still praying after fifteen or twenty years. They are my example. But I also understand those who have decided it's easier to accept things the way they are. What if both ways are right? What if accepting things the way they are and continuing to pray faithfully, is what God wants from us? It isn't up to us to be their Savior or to fix it. It's up to us to pray and trust God and leave the results to Him. That means loving who they are now, but also praying God will not leave them there.
I have been in both places: praying faithfully; believing it will happen in God's timing, and then getting tired of waiting on God's timing and letting discouragement set in. But I have never completely given up hope! I have always understood that underneath it all, God is sovereign, and He knows so much more than I do about everything.
As I was laying in bed waiting to fall asleep last night, I was praying by name children who have walked away, and praising God for the ones who have returned. In my mind, I heard, "I have called you by name." I got up and wrote it down knowing it had to do with prodigals and that it was in the Bible, but not remembering where. This morning as I was getting ready for work, another sentence came to my mind, "When you go through the deep waters..." I was thinking, "That's in the Bible too." I thought they might even go together and sure enough, Isaiah 43:1-2 talks about both phrases. I believe God was reminding me of what He says so I would be encouraged and also share it with you.
But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you,
O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have
redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when
you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you...
God originally spoke these words to Israel, but when the God of the universe brings His words to your mind, it's not only so you will know what He did in the past or for someone else, but what He is still doing and saying today. The Word of God is living and active (Heb 4:12). He cares about what we are going through and wants us to be encouraged by His word.
Remember, Israel was God's prodigal nation, yet He knew them by name; He was with them when they went through deep waters. The Lord is their only Savior. Even when we lose hope or let discouragement get the better of us for a time, God doesn't. He knows all our prodigal children by name; He is with them when they pass through the waters, and He is their only Savior!