The Prodigal Child – A Time to Plant and a Time to Uproot

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to plant and a time to uproot…

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2b)

A time to plant…

“…so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

A gardener I am not…but I do know this much, you need good soil to have any measure of success in producing a crop.  The hearts of children are like good soil, soaking in the seed of God’s truths quite easily.

Oh, how I remember the days my children were eager to read their Bibles, to memorize scripture and sing songs like “Father Abraham” and “Jesus Loves Me.”  Church was a highlight of their week.  At some point the Bibles started collecting dust, scripture was forgotten, and secular music blasted through their headphones.  Church was either tolerated or downright loathed.

It’s easy to get discouraged.  But Isaiah 55:11 is a wonderful reminder that God’s Word does NOT return empty.  It is planted in the hearts of our children—down deep to places in their soul we cannot see.  Not only that, it has a purpose in their lives and it WILL accomplish what God desires to do.  We may not understand the purpose or the journey it will take to get there, but we can trust that it’s all under control.  Why?  Because while man may plant and water the seed, God causes it to grow.

A time to uproot…

I’ve already mentioned not being a gardener.  One of the biggest reasons is because I hate the work of weeding.  It’s tedious and well, I’d rather exert energy doing something that’s more enjoyable.  But weeds will choke out plants, so it’s a necessary evil.

Which is exactly how I feel about my next point, uprooting the “weeds” of mistakes we’ve made in parenting.  This isn’t to say we’re at fault for the decisions our children have made.  Yet we must acknowledge areas we may have gone wrong.  We can’t undo the past, but we can change the future.  And more importantly, we can seek forgiveness—whether it’s with God, ourselves or our children.

Just like I don’t always know the difference between a plant and a weed growing in my yard, the same can happen as a parent.  We may not recognize the ways we have caused or contributed to our children’s problems.  Spend time seeking God in prayer for direction.  One of the things revealed to me (through the reading of a book), was that I had become an enabler, especially with my prodigal.

Don’t be afraid to ask others about your parenting weeds—a spouse, best friend, coworker or yes, even your child.  Sometimes we can’t see those weeds but others can.  It might hurt to hear the truth but it’s the only way to know.  One of the hard truths I had to face was how I tended to overreact to virtually everything.  My prodigal child shared the damage that had done and why it was difficult to carry on a conversation with me.  I never recognized that weed in my life and now I’m working hard to uproot it.


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