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I walked past that empty bedroom for two years. Each time I peered in, my heart broke more. Each item, perfectly in place, untouched. A ghost of a room representative of years of pain and a life that took a path that was different than expected. The bedsheets that weren’t turned down, the dresser drawers that remained closed, even the clean, dry towels taunted me.

How many sleepless nights did I slip in that dark room and sit on the bed crying out to God on behalf of my daughter? How many times did I sit in her chair and weep in her room, begging for Him to intervene? How many times did I pace in the room praying out loud, quoting Scripture for her return “home”? How many times did I scream out to Satan in anger and fear to loosen his grip on my family?

Handwritten Scripture promises hidden under the pillows, between the mattresses and laid on the desk offered me some peace that God had a plan and a purpose. Over time, painfully confessing that fear and worry dominated my faith, I began to surrender and trust that God truly was intervening in the life of my daughter.

Is your child’s bedroom empty? Is it a long-term hospital stay? Drug rehab? Jail? Runaway? Perhaps you’ve had to tell them they can’t come home…yet. The hole in your heart is large and painful. I don’t know your circumstances, but I do know these 4 truths gave me hope and peace amid this difficult time:

  1. Trust God’s plan. I am a firm believer that there is purpose in the pain. For believers, there is great comfort in knowing that everything that touches us passes through His hands first. In Red Sea Rules, Robert Morgan writes, “Our whole perspective changes when, finding ourselves in a hard place, we realize the Lord has either placed us there or allowed us to be there, perhaps for reasons presently known only to Himself.” God uses heartaches in this type of season to accomplish several things, but most likely, there is a plan and a process for that plan, not only for the child but for the parents as well. Spurgeon said it well, “If you can’t trust His hand, trust His heart.”

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

  1. Trust God’s timing. Give God time to accomplish what He needs to. He has a specific schedule, and it’s different than ours. In Waiting on God, Charles Stanley writes, “What we desire is often what the Lord has purposed and will provide for us. But timing is everything, and key puzzle pieces are falling into place as we wait. God is changing hearts and engineering circumstances we have no idea even exist. Therefore, the delays we face are not a denial of His promises; rather, they are an integral part of His strategy to arrange all the details and get us positioned for His excellent plan.” Trials need to run their course. They must accomplish what they were intended for. Even when you don’t see Him working, He is. We must wait, patiently.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him”
(Lam. 3:22-24).

  1. Trust God’s unique deliverance. Not all prodigals come home, but many do. Not all return to their family’s home. Home is where the Lord wants them. Our hope and prayer is that they return home to the Lord and to a healthy, productive and fulfilling life; one that God will use in new and unexpected ways for His glory.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3: 5-6).

  1. Trust God’s provision. God really does see you. He really does know. He really does care. He really does answer prayer, and He has not forgotten you. The promise of His presence is unconditional. Not only is He with you, He’s with your child. This is a spiritual battle, and God is strong and mighty in the battle. He will fight for your family. Nothing is too hard for Him.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exo. 14:14).

Charles Stanley has also written, “You cannot wait upon God without learning to truly trust Him.” Mom, Dad, how long will it be before you trust Him? What will it take for you to trust Him? Will you seek to try everything in your power to change the situation only to be thrust into desperation and finally turn to Him? Why not surrender to His plan, His timing and His provision today?

My prayer for parents thrust into this difficult season is that in God’s perfect timing, you will watch while His plan gradually unfolds and in love and forgiveness, open your arms and welcome your child “home.”

This blog is written with permission of a precious young lady who is home – and back in her bedroom.

“It’s one thing to have faith to ask, it’s another thing to have the faith that waits for the answer.”

Jim Cymbala