When a Proverb Causes Discouragement

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Graeme Wilson in Victory Call

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

While struggling with this I began a deeper study on Proverbs using a study guide called The Art of Living Well by Kenneth Boa and Gail Burnett.  During this study I read:

“First, the maxims in Proverbs are universally true and applicable in most cases, but there is room for deviations. Proverbs are not promises of God. Rather they are keenly observed and divinely interpreted patterns of cause and effect in human behavior. Proverbs are totally valid, highly reliable, and typically repeatable. Nevertheless, God is at liberty to intervene and altar those patterns in any way He sees fit. He will do so when our best interest is at stake. Second, we must carefully read and interpret what these maxims are saying. Some people read what they want scripture to say and then get angry at God when He doesn’t deliver the way they have in mind. If in our own lives we find deviations from principles expressed in Proverbs, we should first go back and read what the verse really says and then examine the truth of how our situation fits that principle. These two cautions do not lessen the value of Proverbs, nor do they diminish the wisdom of following them. Indeed, Proverbs give timeless insight; and even today they offer us incredible predictability of outcome”

I finally understood. There was no magic bullet for raising godly children. The equation was never A + B = C. OOPs…you didn’t do that? You lose! Proverbs suggests that if you do A then B should be the outcome.

I began to understand many things like, the free will my children possess and that there are no guarantees. I could have been June Cleaver or some other idea of the perfect mother and my kids would still come to a point where they make their own decisions. Greater still was the understanding I gained about who God is. He is sovereign and has seen fit to intervene in my life and the lives of my children for His greater purposes. Only through my mistakes do I feel that I can relate to other mothers with prodigals. God uses our pain. As the Lord has used my past and my current situation, I know He has a purpose for my children and the path they are currently on.

I am in the waiting room with many other mothers of adult prodigals. In the waiting room I am able to share and comfort others who deeply feel they are why their children are _______.  I am confident that God is bigger than ALL my mistakes! Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t sting like it used to. God has comforted me in ALL my tribulations and my prayer is that you will be comforted and able to let go of your regrets.


Kathy is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.

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