By Paul Gilbert
This fall marks the 20th anniversary of when Susan and I first came to Tallahassee and made Four Oaks our “home.” It has been the greatest blessing and privilege to serve and minister here during these two decades, and we trust and pray that God will give us many, many more years of fruitful ministry here.
The reason I am reflecting on this now is that it has always been in my heart to create a resource for those at Four Oaks who are struggling with the wayward in their lives. I, along with Susan, have walked with many people through the heartache and pain of unfaithful marriages, prodigal children, and wayward friends & family members. Next to death, no wound seems so deep and penetrating as the one inflicted upon our souls by those who have lost their way.
What has struck me about each of the prodigal situations I have ministered in is how they all seem to evoke the same kinds of questions, regardless of the particulars: What went wrong? Why is this happening? Where is God? What should I do? How do I fix it? What does love LOOK like?
This vision to write a book about how to love the wayward lay dormant until the day Dave Harvey arrived in 2013 to be a part of the Four Oaks Pastoral Team. Dave and I talked about this vision to create a resource for prodigal sufferers and thus endeavored to write a book together. With Dave’s background and experience in writing, there was now a path forward to wed my pastoral burden for the wayward with Dave’s giftedness to create a resource for the church.
Now, almost three years later and by the grace of God, this pastoral burden to help God’s people has become a reality. The fruit of this vision is our upcoming book, Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls, which is set to be released by Zondervan this week. It is in this book that Dave and I attempt to lay out a Biblical path forward for prodigal sufferers and how God calls us to love the wayward in our lives.
Four Oaks Killearn is hosting a Letting Go event on Saturday, November 19 from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM, where Dave and I will dedicate the morning to teaching and discussing significant portions of the book material, seeking God’s wisdom with you for how to love the prodigals in our lives. The cost to attend is only $10 per household, and includes a FREE copy of the book (when you sign up by November 17 and attend the seminar). You can sign up HERE.
Please pray that this resource would help those who are walking the wayward path with a loved one. We are praying and hoping for the day when all the prodigals run home.