He sits cooing in his crib, then suddenly props himself up on one arm. You hold your breath, and next thing you know, your wiggly toddler is standing upright. His chubby, fingers are grasping the side rails for dear life. He smiles, probably because you look so stunned, and there it is his first baby step! You have just witnessed a miracle! And although you could not see Him, God was not only present; he orchestrated the entire event. And might I add, right on schedule! Then in the blink of an eye, you’re sitting in your church pew watching this same child step thoughtfully into the baptismal tank. You witness a second miracle. Your adolescent is surrendering his life over to the Jesus you’ve taught him to love and trust. But only a few years later the rug is pulled out from underneath all of you, and without any prior warning, he falls! Your teenager chose to let go of God’s hand.
Rebellion becomes his new walk and you as the parents of this prodigal child, are devastated. You feel so helpless as you watch him lose his footing. His choices are in opposition to all your beliefs and values. All the while an unfamiliar voice keeps whispering in your ear, “What did you do? His failures are all your fault.” Friends and family members rally to your side and offer well-meaning words of comfort. Some might suggest that your family try joining a support group. There are 12 Step Groups around the world providing support for anyone with any need. Excellent groups with genuine help and supportive resource material. However, as Henri Nouwen suggests in one of his famous quotes “Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now, and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.” The Book of Truth, the Bible. Inspired by our Creator to be used as a guiding light for every challenge we will ever face. It offers hope and can’t help but renew our faith as we see how God brought grace to Saul (a murderer), and King David (a man who murdered because he coveted another man’s wife).
The weakness in the 12 Step programs is that they are missing the 13th Step. Choosing God as their Higher Power.“Receiving forgiveness requires a total willingness to let God be God and do all the healing, restoring, and renewing.” Henri J.M. Nouwen “Return of the Prodigal Son.” How quickly we forget about the miracles, we have already witnessed. The birth of your child is one of them. I am convinced that if parents take the next step, they will find all the strength they need in God’s Word. He hears our fervent prayers and calls us to rest in His arms. The 13th Step is entitled “Let God be God.” Stop listening to that voice of criticism for it isn’t God’s voice and wait for the next miracle. Only your child can take the next step. The 13
The 13th Step for any prodigal is to take Jesus’ hand and follow him. He knows the way home!
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20.