After five years of post-Assembly recovery, it seems that quite a few former Assembly members have regained some sense of stability in their lives and the beginnings of restored faith. But the parents among them may still be watching their children struggle with life. Many of us who left long ago – maybe even most of us -whose children are now grown are still in this situation. The greatest pain, the deepest regrets about the Assembly experience that parents deal with is the huge, huge cost to the well-being of our children. Brinda wrote her history of the Geftakys ministry in Tuscola and the Midwest out of this anguish.
I came across Isaiah 43:5-7 this morning, which is a great assurance from God:
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather them from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
As adults in the Assembly, we had at least a glimmer of who God really is, and we dedicated our children to him in infancy. But what concept of God did our children grow up with? Most of them developed a very warped view of him. Tamilla P. sketches a dismal picture of the Assembly “god”, who was made in the image and likeness of George and Betty geftakys.
But Tamilla also portrays the stark contrast of God’s true character – loving, forgiving, restoring. As post-Assembly parents begin to get recovery and a renewed understanding of who God really is, this must be communicated to their children. Otherwise, stuck with the false Assembly image of him, the children will rightly resist his drawing them back to himself. As the light begins to dawn on us, we often are unable to communicate effectively because contradictions still remain in our understanding. Disagreement between parents may also confuse the picture as one parent begins to see more clearly than the other.
In spite of all these cards stacked against our children, it is hopeful that the outcome does not rely solely on us. We can take heart that Isaiah heard God’s word of assurance that he wants his scattered children back and is actively seeking them.