Have you ever spent a sleepless night because of a child?
Ever argued with your kid you regret?
Is there anyone here who feels guilty because their family seems to be so far from where we
dreamed they would be?
You are not the only one. The Bible has many parents that felt the same way.
We so often think we are the only ones who have the trouble we do.
In the Bible, we find parent after parent who is crushed by tragic circumstances involving their
• Adam and Eve lost not one, but two sons
• Isaac was tricked by his son and saw both sons fighting one another until he died.
• Manoah and his wife saw their son torn apart by the women he chose and broke the vows
made with God. These were Samson’s parents.
One parent in the New Testament embodies the heartbreak of many moms and dads. It is
found in Luke 15. The story of the Prodigal Son is so familiar, but I want to concentrate only on
the father in verses 11-12 & 20.
Luke 15:11-12 (The Message)
“There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right
now what’s coming to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long
before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country.”
1. Fight The Crisis
a. “I wish you were dead.” This might also be what the younger son told his dad because
that’s really the only way a younger son would get any inheritance. It wasn’t unusual for a
father, before he died, to give a portion of the inheritance to the older son so that the aging
parent could be cared for and the son would have provisions. But a younger son never had an
estate divided up for him until death.
b. This father had his son choose the world over him. He knew the kind of boy he was, and after
his generosity, it didn’t take long for the young man to bolt!
2. Fight the Isolation
1. Withdrawing from relationships because we don’t want to talk about and/or deal with the
2. Isolation can come from our hurt pride that this kid has made us look bad or broken up the
3. It can disrupt church family relationships (sometimes folks don’t know what to say—but
we don’t always have to say something—we can listen, hug, & allow grief and healing to run its
3. Fight the Rejection
1. Reject means to “cast off” or “refuse to accept.”
2. Cutting a child off emotionally or through communication (one family’s hurt was handled so
poorly they announced their son had died and held a funeral.
3. Most of the time, rejection takes a passive form. We don’t talk about problems/
disagreements. One parent said they praised their kid for good grades until they caught them
with drugs. Then they withheld praise even when it was deserved.
4. Nobody does it intentionally—it is a destructive pattern we slip into to protect ourselves.
4. Fight the Anger
1. Physical expression
2. Verbal expression
3. Peripheral expression-lashing out at others
5. Fight the Guilt
1. What did I do wrong?
2. No parent is perfect…we all make mistakes.
6. Fight the Despair
1. Why won’t God answer my prayer?
2. “God can’t do it or won’t do it” is the thought pattern that leads to despair.
3. Habbakuk 2:3 in the Living Bible, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly,
steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not
despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a
7. Fight for Hope
Luke 15:20, “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran
out, embraced him, and kissed him.”
a. Fellowship—Galatians 6:2, “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the
law of Christ.”
i. The experiences we have are not unique, and God will lead us to those who can understand
and listen without judging.
ii. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable; be wise, who you are vulnerable with.
b. Unconditional love
i. (From “The Hurting Parent,” pg. 78ff.) A couple with two daughters still at home received a
call from their wayward son late one night. He had called from a hotel and told his mom, “I’m
hurting and really hungry…tell me what to do.” His voice drifted off, and a strong voice broke in.
It was the manager of the Holiday Inn 150 miles from the Farrone’s home. The whole family
piled in the car and made the trip. When they arrived, they thanked the manager and placed
their inebriated, emaciated son in the front seat of the car. The father leaned over and buckled
his son in. The stench of alcohol, vomit, and weeks on the street was overwhelming. They had
to roll the windows down to breathe. It was then he felt he understood more completely what
the Prodigal’s father did when he embraced him.
ii. Our prodigals need the courtesy we have for strangers but deprive our own families of. They
need the patience, kindness, humility, unselfishness, and sincerity of I Corinthians 13. When
people repent, the angels rejoice…but do we?
i. For ourselves
ii. For our kids
Ruth Graham, in her book “Prodigals and Those Who Love Them” (pg. 81) that there are things
we can do (the possible) and things God can do (the impossible):
i. Our part (the possible)
• Expressed love
o In Faith
• Take joy in parenthood
• Provide best home environment we can (inviting, happy)
• Minister to physical and emotional needs as able
ii. God’s Part (the impossible)
• Conviction of sin
• Creating a hunger and thirst for righteousness
• Bringing a child to total commitment
• Revelation of ourselves as we really are
• Filling us with the Holy Spirit for our sanctification and His service