Prone to Wander

One of my favorite hymns is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” because it’s not only beautiful but so raw and honest. It doesn’t sugarcoat anything: “Oh, to grace, how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love! Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” Yeah. Sounds like me. Does it sound like you, too?

Our hearts are prone to wander. We are incredibly inclined to leave the God we love. I guess desiring independence is human nature. If it wasn’t, we would never move out of our parents’ houses! But desiring independence from God is a sign of wrong thinking. We know that underneath it all. Still, though, how often do we do it anyway?

I often find myself – and I’ve heard from others that this is a problem for them, as well – bringing the “big things” to God and thinking that I can handle the small things myself. The big things? I know I can’t handle those. Lord, please help me get into the Master’s program I’m applying for. Lord, please protect my family and keep us safe. But the little things are totally within my grasp, or so I think. I can handle this situation with my friend; we just need to talk it out. I can handle the problem I have with lying/gossiping/whatever it may be all the time; I just need to try harder to be good. I begin attempting to rely on my own strength instead of using God’s. I get exhausted that way, and I make mistakes. My reliance on myself leads me down the wrong paths. I sin. I’m prone to wander.

Something that I’ve been learning recently is that I can’t trust myself. On my own, I will never be strong enough to resist temptation. If I fall into the trap of believing that I can do it without Jesus, I am destined to fail. If I start believing that I’m not prone to wander, wandering is the first thing I’m bound to do. Friends, I encourage you to realize a few things that I am working on realizing myself:

  1. You will never be good enough. I don’t mean that in a harsh way, but it’s easy for all of us – myself included! – to start deceiving ourselves here. We start thinking that we’re doing pretty well on our own and relying on Jesus a little less. But here’s the thing… The only righteousness and goodness we have in the first place is what he gives us. On your own, without Jesus, you will never be good enough. You will never be strong enough on your own to not wander. Neither will your pastor or your neighbor or your parent or me. None of us is good enough. And if we left it there, our story would not be a happy one. But…
  2. God longs to help you. He wants you close to him. He wants you to walk in righteousness and be in fellowship with him. I love the part of the song that asks God to “bind my wandering heart to Thee!” We need his help if we’re going to not wander away from him. And he desperately wants to give us that help! He desires a relationship with us. He wants nothing more than to help you stay close to him. Ask him to give you the strength you need. Take everything, even the things you think you can handle, to him. He will be faithful!

Be encouraged! We are all prone to wander. But thank goodness we have a savior who “came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV). You will never wander so far that he can’t find you and bring you back. You are his beloved. Believe that and cling to him.

[Note: Jon Acuff has a great post about this same topic that I think you should all read, too! You can check it out here.]