I have seen them at times, bravely facing other parents who (like the prodigal’s parents) had done everything right and whose children had chosen to follow Christ, while theirs had rejected the Truth and gone.
How, I wondered, did Monica, the mother of Augustine, feel among her friends during those years when her brilliant young son, a leader of the heretical “Manichees,” lived in open defiance of God? (See “Augustine,” by Louis Bertrand.)
How did Jim Vaus’ parents feel? His father was an ordained Baptist minister, yet his son was repeatedly caught cheating or stealing, all the while charading as a Christian. After a stint in the Navy, he received a dishonorable discharge and eventually wound up seriously involved with the underworld network of crime.
Both young men returned to our Father, but it was a painful road for their parents.
They felt good eyes upon them
and shrank within–undone;
good parents had good children
and they a wandering one.
The good folk never meant
to act smug or condemn,
but having prodigals
just “wasn’t done” with them.
Remind them gently, Lord,
have trouble with Your children,