I would often speak with my father about what was going through his mind (and my mom’s) when I walked in darkness. I look back and wonder what in the world I was thinking—why did I go on the path that I did? Sometimes I feel deep regret for choosing the path of the world, wondering how my life would or could have been different.
As a believer now, I do not hold on to the past, but instead I realize that the LORD is able to use my past experiences to offer comfort to parents. Instead of hanging my head in shame, He is able to use those experiences as a means of encouragement as I reach out to parents through Faith Family Reunion. He reminds me of His love and encourages me as I read His Word. In His Word, He confirms my identity as His child and how much He loves me; then, through the Holy Spirit, His love is demonstrated through me when I reach out to parents. The LORD has made me realize that my past is not lost but purposeful in my calling today.
It can be very painful for you as a parent to see your child leave the faith in Jesus Christ. You may look back at the way that you raised your children and wonder if you could have done a better job sharing the message of grace and the wonderful gift of freedom that Jesus Christ offers us. It can be easy to hang your head in shame and give up, but I wonder: What would happen if you were to reach out to other parents going through the same situation? Could you perhaps be a comfort to another parent and maybe just be in the right place at the right time when they needed you most? What if you could share your struggles with them and they could in return share what they are going through? Do you think that just knowing you are not alone could provide the very comfort you need?
The Lord Knows
We don’t know the future, nor can we predict it, only the LORD knows. When I look back to the last ten or fifteen years, I had no idea that I would today love the Lord and feel such a call in my life. My parents had no idea that I would come back … but the LORD did. He had a plan and that plan was for me to offer comfort to parents going through the same situation my parents went through. The LORD can often take the very issues that destroy our relationship with Him and turn them around so that we become champions for HIM. Those destructive situations of our past can be the very path through which we are called to serve Him, because we understand them so well.
When you read His Word, listen to His voice, and reflect on the good news He offers us, remember that our LORD has a way of turning things around. I encourage you to reach out, be of comfort to one another, and trust His comfort.
Prayer: We thank you, heavenly Father, that by your Spirit in Word and Sacrament you comfort us time and again, no matter what our circumstances may be, for you have made us your people through Baptism into Christ. Grant our children, who have left your comfort manifested in Jesus Christ, the recognition of what they have lost by going their own way and enable them by your Spirit to return to the comfort that you grant your people. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
What God’s Word says
John 14:1–3 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
John 14:15–17 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
2 Corinthians 2:3–5 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Join me at one of the upcoming Faith Family Reunion retreats:
- February 9, 2019 | Peace Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Mich.
- April 27, 2019 | St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamburg, Mich.
- June 29, 2019 | Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jackson, Mich.
Photo (c) Highwaystarz Photography/iStock