Unto Us A Child Is Born
Tom M. Roberts
Many Christians know the ache of David's heart when he wept for his rebellious son, saying: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son!" (2 Samuel 18:33). David went aside by himself and wept bitter tears.
Many Christians know the bitterness of such tears -- the helplessness that David must have felt -- the burden of regret and sorrow. One of the most terrible feelings known to Christians is that which is felt when a beloved son or daughter turns their back on Christ and becomes unfaithful. There are no words adequate to describe the broken hearts.
This series of "letters" will describe some of the feelings that parents have when children reject God. No one family is described; rather a composite family drawn from many experiences is projected. It is hoped that parents will use these articles to open the door of young people's hearts to the tender love of Christ and remind them of their parents' love. They are also an appeal to our young people who have forgotten the most important lesson they will ever learn, "Love God and keep His commandments."
We urge you to use these letters to reach out to your wayward children as gentle reminders that the only true happiness is found in service to God. It is our prayer that even one might be restored as was the prodigal son in Luke 15: "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."
"My dear child, I don't know if you will ever see this or read it, but there is such a burden on my heart that I must attempt to put it into words.
"Some time has passed since you have worshipped faithfully and you no longer seem to care about God and His will. The Lord's church does not seem to be important to you, and with the passing months your interest in spiritual matters seems to grow ever more cold. As we think on these things, your mother and I are filled with a sense of sorrow that is more than we can express. You are the most precious thing in this life to us and we know we are losing you to Satan. Will you take the time to read this letter that is written with a love that forces us to speak, even when hope is weak?
"How can we tell you how we felt when you were born? It seems ridiculous now to think of you as ever being so tiny and helpless when you have grown so tall and are making your own way in the world as an adult. Yet, there you were, just born and we held you with such love and tenderness, for you seemed so fragile. At that time we could never imagine the years would pass so quickly. All those old folks' stories about time going so fast are really true. It seems like yesterday to us that you were sent to us from heaven.
"There was such a mixture of emotions when we first saw you! You were a person, yet an extension of ourselves. We were awed when we realized that you were sent into our keeping from God to shape and mold and we had such good intentions. Believe me, you were really loved and tenderly cared for. We wanted to be such good parents!
"Somewhere between that blessed event and today some terrible mistakes were made. I suppose there is enough guilt to pass around to everyone: ourselves, you, society, the schools, the church. But I can only speak for myself when I say that I feel a terrible burden of failure when I see you turn your back on God. I am responsible for what I did! And for what I failed to do! Does it help at all to say that everything I did had good intentions behind it? All along the way I assumed that you would know this and overlook my mistakes because I loved you and wanted you to be the very best that you could be. Most important of all, I assumed that you would want to be a Christian. And this is our biggest failure of all.
"I remember teaching you to sing 'Jesus Loves Me' at home. You really enjoyed singing when you were young. You toddled off to Bible classes and brought us the work sheets when you learned to print 'Jesus loves me' by yourself. Do you remember any of this? What are your earliest recollections of life? We tried so hard to plant a love of God along with visits to the zoo and playing in the water and working in the yard. Do you remember your first prayers at the dinner table? Do you remember playing with the children of other Christians and the enjoyable visits we had with our good friends in the church? These were good times and we truly were happy as we watched you grow. These memories seem so bittersweet now that things have changed so much. It is true that we cannot go back to these times, but just the memory of them means so much to us. I wish I could know how much of these things you remember. I wish I could know if such memories mean the same to you or if you have shelved them away somewhere.
"Since I cannot say all that I want to say now, I will write you again. As I close this letter, I want to ask a favor of you. Will you search your memory to see how much God was a part of your early life? Wasn't He more than just 'going to church,' or 'getting your Bible study'? Didn't you truly love God when you were young? We thought you did and we were so proud of you. In those years you were all that we hoped you would be. We thanked God for you and for the pleasure you brought to us. It is our prayer that you may recall those early memories of the love you had for God and think about it until you hear again from,
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