All parents at one time or another have had the heartbreak of watching one of their kids struggle, muddle around, and make a mess of things. We sit in the principal’s office, in the hospital, at the police station wondering why? And how? We hurt for them, but we hurt for ourselves too. What are we? Chopped liver? Why didn’t they come to us for help? Why did they keep us out of their lives, avoiding and evading?
God knows that sad feeling—he’s been going through it with his children for millennia: “They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail on their beds. They slash themselves, appealing to their gods for grain and new wine, but they turn away from me” (Hosea 7:14). Why would anybody pass up God’s help? Perhaps people want to control the situation by creating a scenario in which it is their actions that solve the problem. Perhaps they don’t want to feel obligated to a divine rescuer. Perhaps Satan’s temptations have confused their perceptions of how things happen in the world. Perhaps the seductive lure of other gods just seemed so much cooler.
Maybe that’s why God so often allows suffering into our lives. Suffering has a way of breaking down stubborn hearts, clearing mental fog, and creating an opportunity for prodigal sons and daughters to despair of the false promises of idols and give their heavenly Father a chance again.
It’s not too late. God is waiting to hear their voices. And yours.