Wandering. It is exhausting. Many times I acquaint wandering with shopping, specifically shopping at a mall. The philosophy of a mall is that you enter into a giant building that is full of businesses that display their stuff in windows with that hope that it lures you to buy what they are selling. The idea is that life will be better if you own the latest sneed (see the Lorax by Doctor Seuss). As you walk, many times you have no clue what you are looking for; you are just hoping that something catches your eye. It is purposeless shopping. Many times it is also expensive shopping.
You quickly find that it is nearly impossible not to purchase something as you wander about the mall. Perhaps your stomach growls, so you desire a pretzel. Perhaps your foot hurts, so you are lured to buy shoes. Perhaps you see a model in a window that looks like a god or goddess, so you try on their pants.
Obviously, malls did not exist in the day of James, but if they did, I wouldn't be surprised if he would have used it as an illustration to his point in James 5:19-20. The wandering that James is talking about has a pull to it. It is something that lures you in. Many times the Greek word found in James for wandering, planaō, is used in other scriptures to talk about being lead away, as if a force was drawing you, as if you are tied to a leash. This is what Jesus says in Matthew 24:4, “see that no one leads you astray (planaō).”
This is helpful, at least to me, to recognize our spiritual walk through the mall of our lives. For many people it is an aimless, purposeless walk. We see something shiny and we are drawn to it. Perhaps it is food that we hope satisfies; or perhaps it is wealth that we hope satisfies; or perhaps it is sex that we hope satisfies. Eventually after shopping for years and years we start to realize that nothing that we find in the mall of life satisfies.
This week I was reminded of a quote of CS Lewis that you can find in his book Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” This is the heart of what it means to accept Jesus Christ. We are made by God to be satisfied in Him. God is not of this World. This is truth. Therefore, stop wandering around looking for something that will leave you unfulfilled and unloved, it is spiritually, emotionally, and physically exhausting. This is what Jesus says to the wanderers of the world.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Stop your wandering and sit at the foot of the cross. It is Christ that satisfies.