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When They are Old They Will Not Depart From It

Cathy Tobbler (c) 1997

I was thinking about the rod in the scripture "spare the rod and spoil the child: and what it refers to.  I have likened the rod to a couple of things.  One is the staff of the shepherd that was used to gently guide the lambs back to safe pasture, or perhaps it could also be a weapon to ward off elements that sought to destroy the flock of lambs.  But most of all I like to think of it as is the Iron Rod and how the gospel will keep the child from spoiling their life. 

The scripture that goes with this is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  This scriptures brings me much peace because as I have two sons who are currently not attending church, they are still loving the basic principles of the gospel, but the burning testimonies that they once had are now little more than tiny flickers.

My dear mother in law, although a very righteous women, also experienced this sorrow in her life.  She set an example for me that I hope to follow and perhaps I will achieve the same results.  During her life, she saw all but one of her 6 children lapse into inactivity, 3 of them were excommunicated, one even joined another church.  But to her dying day, she never gave up on them, I don't believe she has even now.  She prayed daily for them, pleaded to the Lord on their behalf, fasted for them in their difficult moments, pleaded to the Lord on their behalf, fasted for them in their difficult moments, pleaded to the Lord to soften their hearts, talked to them gently about what the Savior should be in their lives, kept their name on the temple prayer rolls, fasted for them weekly when her health permitted, always was alert for teaching moments, and most importantly of all, no matter how disappointed she may have been in their choices, she loved them and let them know that they were valued.  One evening, as she prayed, I over heard for beg the Lord to take her life if it would somehow soften their hearts.

Out of her children, my husband was the child that everyone else gave up on.  I think she and I were ever the only ones who ever had a clear picture of the loving soul under all that wall he had put up from past hurts.  We are so happy that she lived long enough to see her son come back to church, that she was able to be with us the day were sealed along with our five children as a family in the temple.  One of her children is currently working up the courage to become active again.  Another is working though the repentance process so she can be rebaptized.  The child that joined another church has softened considerable, and is working on the family's genealogy.   And even one who asked to have her name removed from the records is now reconsidering.  So, to me that scripture is a very real promise.  That if we try as hard as we can, and never give up or quit loving our children that the blessings of the gospel still await.  It just may take until "they are OLD" before they come to fully appreciate it in their lives.

". . .The angel said, Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father:   For he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be frought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith."                     Mosiah 27:14

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