By Donna Bucher
For several years now, my fear surrounding my prodigal son and daughter remains unhindered.
Part of a yet unanswered prayer, admitting my apprehension for their welfare feels like a lack of faith.
With each passing year, fear regarding their whereabouts or well-being etches deeper in my heart.
When my daughter left home, my heart experienced unrelenting pain.
An unwelcome fear took up residence.
When my son left home years later, my fear seemed almost justified.
The forced separation from a prodigal’s departure infiltrates a parent’s heart with endless questions fueled by an unknown future.
Wrestling with more questions than answers breeds anxiety and grief.
Left with broken pieces that no longer fit together, I wondered how to love a child who preferred I remain outside their life.
As mothers, we hold our children from the moment of conception—first in the womb, then in our arms, and always in our hearts.
Navigating the complexities of having prodigals in my family began a battle with fear.
Magnifying uncertainty about the future, dwelling on past failures, and doubting God’s sovereignty kept my focus on fear instead of the Lord.
The Bible offers many encouraging passages for when you are afraid to release your prodigal child to God.
Here are three promises that helped me overcome fear and receive rest from God:
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV
“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 NKJV
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6 NKJV
These reassuring promises helped me calm my fear and reminded me that I wasn’t in this battle alone.
Relinquish Fear as You Release Your Prodigal Child to God
Watching leaves fall is one of my favorite autumn pastimes. They are both mesmerizing and calming at once.
Even as my heart longs for the carefree delight exhibited by the falling leaves, it seems as though the leaves whisper, “Release your prodigal child to God and rest in His presence.”
What if the real treasure of God’s promises for confronting fear about my children’s decisions is His gentle beckoning to rest in His presence?
Just like the leaves fall to the ground, I invite you to relinquish fear and receive rest as you release your prodigal child to God.
God’s presence is the common thread woven through many verses related to fear.
Jesus, after instructing His disciples to traverse the Sea of Galilee to the other side, promptly fell asleep.
When a severe storm developed and threatened the safety of the ship, the disciples came to Him in fear for help.
After calming the storm with a word, Jesus said more in His silence than the words He spoke.
Piercing through their fear, He asks, “Why are you so fearful?” (Mk 4:40).
But their peace rested in the unspoken obvious–Jesus is God with them.
When you feel alone in your struggle to release your prodigal child to God, remember that God is with you, too!
Hebrews 13:6 HCSB says, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Experience Peace As You Release Your Prodigal Child to God
Whenever fear overwhelms us, peace awaits in the presence of God.
His promises beckon us to seek refuge in Him when our prodigals stray far from the path we desire for them.
Rest embraces us as we remember wherever we are, there will He be also.
God’s presence provides peace, protection, and provision for every situation (Ps 16:11).
Resting in the presence of God banishes fear, replacing it with confident joy in Him.
Almighty God, whose intimate love knows our every care and sorrow, enfolds us in His arms where we find perfect peace and rest.
Maybe being the mother of prodigals is an invitation from God to draw nearer to Him than I’ve ever been before?
God’s great love bids us to bring every fear to Him.
Peace comes from remembering the truth about fear and trusting in God’s perfect love and sovereign provision:
- Christ is the light in our darkness, illuminating our hearts and the way forward (Ps 27:1).
- Christ is our salvation, both in this life and for all eternity (Ps 27:1).
- Christ is our stronghold in the day of trouble (Ps 27:2).
- Christ is our protector in every situation (Ps 27:3).
As you learn to release your prodigal child to God, you will be drawn into a deeper intimacy with Christ.
When we bring all of our fears about our prodigal children to Him, we release them into His care and experience His peace.
Truth You Can Trust as the Parent of a Prodigal
God’s Word offers many promises of hope for parents of prodigals. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- God loves our children. Whether they know Him as Savior or not, He loves them more than we do (Jn 3:16).
- God pursues our children. Though outside our influence, God seeks them, patiently inviting them to return (2 Pt 3:9).
- God works in the dark. Even now, He works unseen in their hearts according to His perfect will and timing (1 Sm 16:7).
- God hears our prayers. Our prayers are powerful and the greatest act of love we can offer (Jas 5:16).
- God is with our children. Our children are never outside of God’s presence no matter where they go (Ps 139:7-10).
- God does the impossible. No situation is beyond God’s power. As long as our children remain on this earth, there is hope (Lk 18:27).
The reality of fear, as we watch our children navigate this fallen world, can greet us in painful ways.
Some fears quickly fade, while others linger or resurface in cruel reminders of uncertain outcomes.
When old fears pierce our hearts, we can find rest in the presence of God (1 Jn 4:18).
As we rest in the embrace of God’s goodness, His presence releases us from the grip of fear.
Releasing your prodigal child into the hands of Jesus is an act of trust. We must never forget that God is good, and He has promised to pursue our wandering children (Mt 18:12).
Trusting in His absolute goodness and love, we can release our children without fear.
Releasing your prodigal child to God prepares your heart to receive the greatest gift of all–a deeper knowledge of our Savior’s unfailing love.
Donna is a women’s ministry leader, teacher, speaker, retired missionary, CASA volunteer, experienced counselor, and hospice and palliative care support person. In addition to contributing her writing to various websites, digital and print magazines, and devotional journals, she writes on her blog, Serenity in Suffering. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.