We all want what’s best for our children. I’ve only been a mother a short time, but I’ve learned more about what it means to be a parent in these six short years than any parenting book could have ever taught me. And I am FAR from being an expert! But there is one thing I do know for certain. I love my children. And as a child of God, I know that the only way to raise my children to be all that God intended them to be is to raise them in a way that leads them to the love of Christ. It would break my heart to see them in a place where they wanted nothing to do with God; but unfortunately, I know of far too many mothers (and fathers) who have had to watch their children grow far from Him.
So what is a parent to do when a child wants nothing to do with God?
- Remember that it is the Holy Spirit who draws hearts… not you. This one is hard. When we have a loved one in our lives who refuses to acknowledge God, it’s easy to feel like you always have to say and do the right thing around them. We strive to make every opportunity to share Jesus. Sometimes, we even reach a point of saying too much. In our well-intentioned efforts to win them over, we end up pushing them further away.
I do believe that God uses us to reach our loved ones, and our conversations are certainly a part of that. But we often place undue pressure on ourselves to say and do the right things… almost as if it all depends on us. It doesn’t. God uses our words, but it’s the Holy Spirit who draws hearts. And in the end, it doesn’t matter how eloquent our speeches are. God doesn’t need us be to be talented speakers. He simply needs a willing heart.
- Pray for wisdom and boldness… because God promises to give you both. When we do speak to our children about God, we need to be diligent in allowing God to speak through us. Sometimes He will ask you to speak, and sometimes He will have you be silent. And when He does ask you to speak, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to give you boldness. These are promises of God. We don’t have to rely on our own intellect or strength… God has us covered.
- Sheep know their Shepherd’s voice… Those who belong to Jesus will come home to Him. Jesus is the One who said that His sheep know His voice. But this doesn’t mean they will never stray. In the parable of the 99 sheep, Jesus describes leaving the entire flock to rescue the one who had wandered off on his own. God is faithful. He pursues His sheep even when they willingly wander for a time. And when His sheep do return, they are welcomed with open arms as if they had never left.
Even when we want nothing to do with God… He pursues us anyway.
“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” – Matthew 18:12-14
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.