Your soul was empty. Your heart ached. You longed for something transcendent, something real, something that would give you meaning and purpose.
And then you heard the gospel of Jesus. You embraced Him. You began to grow. Growth gave way to gratitude. Gratitude led to a desire to serve Him and live for Him.
You found a spouse to love as you are loved. Together, you longed to have children – to procreate and do your part to fill the earth.
Would God now allow the fruit of your union to become something He would reject?
His many promises boldly declare otherwise: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:33).
The problem for us is not what God will do, but the timing in which He will do it. God operates in "Bible time." With the Lord, a day is like 1000 years, and 1000 years is like a day. It may, and likely, will take many years for a prodigal to find his way back home.
Our loving God gives our children a type of free will. They can make mistakes. They can stray. They can walk away from the faith of their childhoods. Many do.
God allows such things. Often He does this for discipline. Often He does this to test our children to see what is in their hearts.
So what do we need to do to bring our children back? Not much. There's not much that we can do. And not much that we need to do.
That's because it's the sovereign grace of God that moves on the heart of the prodigal to come home.
Sure, let's love unconditionally, be available to them, and never give up hope. But more than that, let's remember that we have done what God asked us to do – to procreate. Mostly, we need to trust Him to do what He set out to do.
God wants our children to love Him far more than we do. That's why we can trust that He who began a good work in them (through our faithfulness to procreate) will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).
What we can do is to believe and trust in His promises, and pray without ceasing for the Holy Spirit to quickly dispatch His redeeming, reconciling mercy and grace to our prodigals.
Until then we groan, but with groans of hope not despair.