One of my uncles used to raise National Field Trial bird dogs.  One of his dogs was named Digger because he had a propensity to dig out of any dog pen in which he was placed.  His dogs were raised in 50 foot dog runs with heavy duty wire buried 2 feet into the ground.  Usually within about two hours, Digger was able to set himself free by digging out from underneath the wire.  After a little while my frustrated uncle traded Digger to another dog trainer who kept his dogs on concrete floors.   My uncle would often drive by and see Digger sitting on top of the concrete floor dog run, and he would taunt that dog saying, “Hey, Digger, you aren’t going to dig your way out of that one, are you, buddy?”  Well, some months later Digger was traded to another man who did not know Digger’s history.  He placed him on a dirt floor dog run, and within two hours Digger was free and had returned to my uncle’s home.  When my uncle drove up in the yard, he exclaimed, “Digger, where in the world did you come from?”

Many times our children are just like Digger.  We as responsible parents set boundaries and parameters around our children, as we should, in order to protect them from the harm that is in the world and from the harmful desires of their lower natures.  As our children grow older, we try to guide them in their selection of friends (knowing that “bad company corrupts good manners”).  We try to instill in them moral principles that will guide them safely through life and enable them to make wise decisions.  Nevertheless, if our children are like Digger, it does not matter how high or how wide the fence we attempt to build around them in order to protect them from the evil influences of the world or from the  lower natures in their hearts,  they will make choices that will disappoint us and may prove harmful to themselves.  It was Digger’s nature to dig holes and set himself free.  Sometimes, despite excellent parenting, our children will make choices contrary to their upbringing, and, oh, the heartache and sorrow that these choices bring to the hearts of parents who have done their best to raise their children in the good and right way.  Why will they do that? Because apart from being born again by the Spirit of God, our children, just like us, have hearts that are “prone to wander”. We prefer our way to God’s way and if our parent’s advocate God’s way, we rebel even more, we dig even deeper.

All of us as parents have experienced this pain when our children have chosen to go the wrong way, but remember, parents, we were all teenagers at one time and most of us have been like Digger at some time in our lives.  You will be encouraged one day when you hear your child repeating to their friends some word of caution or word of wisdom that they have heard fall from your very lips and they once disregarded.  Your heart will swell with pride and gratitude when your college age son or daughter rejects the peer pressure of the crowd and chooses the good and right way.  You will be amazed when your once liberal son suddenly becomes an arch-conservative simply because he has a teenage daughter. 

Sadly, I must admit that some of our children will always be like Digger.  The only encouragement I can give to all of us is that “this kind cometh out by much prayer and fasting”.  Gather your best praying friends around you and commit to praying for that child until the day that their heart is changed.  I am convinced that our praying is stronger than their sinning.  We can never do more than pray UNTIL we have prayed.   We can never do more than pray AFTER we have prayed.  Digger’s problem is that it was in his heart to dig.  Unless our children’s hearts are really changed from the inside out, sometimes they will always rebel against their upbringing.  You and your praying friends must pray that God Himself will change their hearts. Otherwise, they may always be digging out from under the fence or “kicking against the ox goads”. 

Remember there was a day when someone prayed for you and me and thought we would never change.  Now here we are praying for someone else who we think will never change.  Isn’t it funny how God’s grace works?  Isn’t it odd how the tables turn? ” Be devoted to prayer and do not grow weary in well doing!!” Your Digger’s future depends upon it.

written by Robert Jackson