Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

For some parents and grandparents, this is a hope.  The hope is that their offspring who have left the church will one day return to the church, to something more substantial than an ill-defined and unassuming spirituality.

It may well be that this is a good hope, or at least a reasonable one.  It isn’t uncommon for me to talk with people who had some form of contact with the Church in the past.  Maybe it was a baptism or more extensive involvement.  But since then they’ve quit coming to church.  They may claim to still be religious or even Christian, but they’ve found other means they think satisfy and fulfill that identity.

Until something happens in life.  Until they have their own child or grandchild.  Then the old things tend to return.  I met with a young mother who wants to baptize her child.  She doesn’t go to church regularly, yet still has some instinctual understanding that this is what you do.  Of course my hope is that having touched base with a church for this event, she will be led to return to church (mine or another) more regularly.  But at the end of the day I am forced to leave the situation in God’s hands.  He may use me for this small piece of the puzzle, but I may never see any of the other pieces coming together.

I pray for wisdom to respond properly, and for the chance to reinforce the Good News of a loving God in the midst of a broken, sinful, and rebellious creation.  A God who works through simple things and simple means – Word, water, wine, wafers – to communicate his invaluable love and grace and forgiveness accomplished through a simple death and an extraordinary resurrection.  I pray that in this moment of crossing paths again, the Holy Spirit will continue to work in her heart and the heart of her daughter to draw them closer to the fellowship that can teach them and love them and nurture them until it’s time for them to join their Maker.

I want control but I don’t have it.  God grant me the wisdom and grace to trust your promises, always.


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