On July 24, 2010 I was honored to perform the wedding of my eldest son David Hartley Henderson to Barbie Leann O’Kelley. The wedding was held in Albany, GA at the River Pointe Country Club and it was a momentous occasion. David is our first-born and has been the prodigal out of our three boys. He just always wanted to walk a different path than his parents and he kept us praying for a long time through much heartache and much turmoil. He is now married to a fine young woman and they have a beautiful eight-month-old daughter named Kayla. She is the life of our family!
Do you have a prodigal out there or know someone that does? If so, I want to share with you a few scriptures that meant so much to us as we were going through this long journey with our son, who is now 40 years old.
Proverbs 11:21 says, “The seed of the righteous shall be delivered”. I cannot count how many times I prayed and reminded God of that promise where David was concerned. My wife and I latched onto that scripture and would not let go. It did not matter what we saw in the natural, or what anybody else said, God said our son would be delivered so we chose to believe the report of the Lord.
The other main battle that we had to face was condemnation from the enemy and from other religious folks. We had our son in several different Christian rehab centers and they had an awful term they used and that term was “re-parenting”. That was one of their stated goals at these centers. What a condemning word to parents that had done all they knew how to do. Here we were preachers and one of our sons was into everything imaginable. There is one scripture that set us free from all this. Isaiah 1:2 says, “Hear O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me”. This is God speaking!!! You cannot be a better parent than God.
There came a point where we had prayed all we knew how to pray and then one day something came to my remembrance. God said in Genesis that it was not good for man to be alone so I started praying for the right woman to come into David’s life, one that would love him and care for him. Within just a few weeks David met his current wife. They eventually moved in together. Do we agree with living together outside of matrimony? No! But I had no doubt that God had made this connection so we just loved them right where they were. The scripture tells us that love never fails. Condemnation, judgment, criticism and religion will all fail but love hides a multitude of sin. Wherever your prodigal is, just make sure he or she knows that you love them.
The story of the prodigal son in John 15: 20-24 says (with a few of my personal inserts):
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion (not judgment), and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe (tuxedo), and put it on him; and put a ring (wedding) on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf (carved roast beef and hors’ d’oeuvres’), and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. What a wonderful picture of a parent with a child that has gone astray. We encourage every parent with a prodigal to hang in there and never lose hope. Find a scripture such as the ones that we found that you can sink your faith into and not be moved. God is not a respecter of persons. Whatever He did for us He will do for you.
Rev. Ed Henderson
New Life Network, Inc.