I read about the following rebels and wanderers as an encouragement to myself. I will not give up on the people in my life who have chosen to walk away from God. I thought some of my readers might also need similar encouragement.
Abraham Piper, son of pastor and author John Piper, writes about 12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child.
I once believed and taught that a parent could follow the right biblical steps and be assured of raising children who remained faithful to God from childhood into their adult years. In fact, as a parent of young children I judged as a failure any parent whose young adult children were prodigal. However, as my own children aged and I discovered that they were self-determining individuals with their own walks with Christ, I came to the alarming realization that I had a lot of control over their outside, but not their inside. They were like all people who were faced with the choice of whether or not they were going to listen to Christ and follow him. As Christians we all encounter opportunities many times in our lives – to choose to follow Christ or not. It was a rude awakening for me when I saw that even the best parenting could not exempt a person from making the wrong choice when faced with temptation. I do believe that by our influence we can greatly increase the likelihood our children will love and follow Christ, but I see nothing in Scripture that guarantees well-trained children will never succumb to temptation.
Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son – the righteous father raised two sons who turned out sinful – one went deep into sin and then repented – the other stayed home obediently, yet was polluted with self-righteousness and bitterness. Could the Father take blame or the credit for their sinful choices? Not at all, for the story is about God the Father Himself – it is a lesson about His mercy to His children when they fail. May we learn from God’s example!
Some books that might be helpful in this regard:
Confessions by St. Augustine.
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them by Ruth Bell Graham.
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller.
Rebel With a Cause by Franklin Graham.
Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels by Tullian Tchividjian.
Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush by Ian Maclaren.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
Home by Marilynne Robinson.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39