The heart of a loving parent over a rebellious child

Rebellious youthAs a pastor I had the privilege of helping hurting parents – parents with wayward, rebellious children who had determined to go their own way, ignore their advice, and pursue sinful, destructive and pain producing activities. I heard them express their deep love, their anguished hearts, the pain of their rejected advice, and their demolished aspirations for their wayward children. If they would only listen! But they refused and the only effective resort was to put their child in the hands of God and pray!
I thought about that as I read Psalm 81 this morning and imagined how our Heavenly Father must feel at times about His wayward children! Here’s how the sons of Asaph expressed it in God-inspired words…
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden… In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you… Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! If you would but listen to me! But my people did not listen to my voice; they would not submit to me! So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that they would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.” (From Psalm 81 ESV)
Oh, may I never respond to my Heavenly Father in that way! May I always be sensitive and responsive to the loving overtures of the Holy Spirit deep within my heart! And if you or I have rebelliously gone our own way, may we humble ourselves, acknowledge our error, and return to Father’s house (cp. Luke 15:11-24 the parable of the prodigal)… “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! … Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 19:14)

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