Question:

I am a father and my youngest, who just turned 16, has been in a car accident. He is in a coma and the doctors tell me there is a very real probability he won't come out. He is showing little brain activity and his organs have begun to shut down. The morning the accident happened he had admitted to me he had premarital sex with a school mate and had tried marijuana. During his whole life he's been a powerful soldier for Christ and now, because of these things, I worry that his soul will be lost to Satan forever in death. All of his love for the Lord will have brought him to a no good end. I have prayed to God to forgive his sins, but this is something he has failed to do himself since his recent discrepancies -- something else he'd admitted to me. He had not ask for forgiveness, and I didn't understand why. Nonetheless, I was wondering if there was anything I could do for him to keep him from burning in hell.


Answer:

"The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

I'm very sorry to hear of accident. Your grief must be close to unbearable. As much as any of us would like to ensure our children's future, the truth is that each one of us stands on our own. David's son, Absalom, gravely sinned against both God and his father; yet, David was more concerned about Absalom's safety than Absalom was: "Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom -- my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"" (II Samuel 18:33).

Please remember that neither you nor I know what God's judgment will be. We know the things he was involved in were wrong and if you or I had the chance we would be persuading him out of those sins and back into righteousness. But it is currently out of our hands. All we can do is fervently pray to God -- not to accept his sins, but ask for mercy on a boy who erred. God knows things that we are not privy to. He knows the circumstances. He knows your son's heart and his motives. He'll be just and where He can, He will be merciful, just as He has been merciful to us.

If there is any chance for recovery, I pray that the Lord restores him to you. And I'm praying that the Lord strengthens you as well.


Serenity Prayer

by Reinhold Niebuhr, c. 1943

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.