I have been a Christian since high school. Now, when I say “Christian,” I mean a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I married a lovely Christian woman. We raised our two children in a manner which we hoped would one day lead to them becoming Christians, too. For Christian parents, nothing is more important than your children also becoming Christians.
Our son and daughter both gave their lives to Christ as children. Life was good. There was always the hope and assurance that we would all be together one day in Heaven. We all attended church. My wife home-schooled our kids, then we put them through Christian high school. They had good, Christian friends. Most of our relatives are Christians. Our daughter married a gentle, loving Christian man. Our son continued to grow in faith and love toward God.
As the years passed, we started seeing signs that something was amiss in the lives of our daughter and son-in-law. I was never really able to identify the problem but knew that something was wrong. I asked them on occasion if they were continuing in the Christian faith and always received a reassuring reply. I recently emailed them again to ask more specific questions about their relationship to God, and this time, I received replies that broke our hearts. They no longer consider themselves Christians.
Our initial reaction to this news was profound sorrow. So many thoughts – “I knew something was wrong!” – “How could this happen?” – “Is it my fault?” – “What can we do?”
We continued our email discussion and learned much about their lives that they had hidden from us for many years. There has been confession, forgiveness, and statements of love. All this is good but the fact remains that they have turned their backs on Christ, the one who died for them.
Why am I telling this story? Because I want other Christians who have experienced this same issue to know that they are not alone. I also offer this story to caution Christian parents to stay engaged in their children’s lives and pray, pray, pray! Stories abound of young adults who have walked away from the faith. And I have told this story to ask those of you who are Christians to pray with me that my daughter and son-in-law will return to God. Their eternal destiny depends on it.
I will continue to have hope for our children…
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you [them] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 1:6