Is it not a great comfort and encouragement knowing our heavenly Father can relate to our grief and pain in having wayward children? His first son, Adam (Lk. 3:38 b), who had everything a child could desire, went astray. Later on, His other children (Israel), though brought up and nourished by this loving, and literally perfect Father, rebelled against Him. It is so sad that those from whom He should find the most comfort, He found the most grief. And isn't this the testimony of many a godly parent? Is not our cry that of Job of old, "Oh that I were as in months past...when my children were about me"?
He understands what it is like to have a child who once "panted after God" (Psa. 42:1), who now "pants after the dust of the earth" (Amos 2:7). One who prefers a filthy hog sty over his or her father's house, comfortable and clean. How longsuffering He was to many of us, the parents of prodigals, when we also traveled the road our children are now on. And those mothers and fathers who did not journey into "the far country," could have and would have, but for the grace of God.
The best advice I could give a godly parent with a godless child, is to pray and be patient. Remembering Naomi's wise council to Ruth, "Sit still... until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing..." As in the book of Esther, although God is not mentioned, He works behind the scenes. And so He does in the life of our children. His promise still holds true, "And he shall turn the heart...of the children to their fathers." Or as one old divine put it, "We can lay the wood together, but God must make it burn."
"When thy child is going full sail to the devil, God can blow with a contrary wind of His Spirit, and alter his or her course."