These are the words I have hanging on the wall opposite my bed. I read them every morning and every night. They have become a sort of prayer for me. I ask God to let it be true, let me be kept close to him by his grace alone…without which I walk directly away.
These words are from a hymn entitled “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which some of you know. It was written by hymnist Robert Robinson in 1757 when he was only 22 years old. The entire hymn is beautiful, but my focus usually lands on the final verse, as it will today. Here it is:
O 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, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above
Ladies, are you prone to wander? Are you prone to leave the God you declare to love? Yes, you are! I don’t have to wait for an answer from you, I know it already. I see it in your lifestyles; I hear it when you tell me of your struggles. But above all of that, I know it is true because I feel the wandering of my own heart daily. There is a constant drawing away from God in our lives. Like the current of a river that works to push against us as we walk upstream. So is the world around us as we walk in faith toward our Savior.
This should not come as a surprise to us (although it often does), the Bible tells us that as children of God we “live in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” (Philippians 2:15). John tells us that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). What more would a twisted world with an evil ruler desire than to pull us away from our God, our “fount of every blessing” as the hymn describes him?
So expect it, Ladies, expect it every. single. day. Know that your path will be a fight against the current of the world. Be engaged in this fight and vigilant in guarding your heart. Follow what we are told in Psalm 119:10-11, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Seek the Lord and store up the words of God in your heart. Do this day in and day out - when you feel like it and when you don’t.
What this looks like daily is reading God’s word (yes, every single day!), praising him in prayer and worship and staying connected to other Christians. It will be evidenced in what music you listen to, what you are reading, what you are watching, what you are doing with your family, how you speak and even church attendance. Saturate your lives with Christ and gather with others who will be doing the same. It is only then that we get to experience “streams of mercy never ceasing” as also declared in this hymn.
Away from God is barrenness; with God is a flourishing of soul with streams of living waters. Pray for God to bind your wandering heart to him. Only he can keep you as his, try as we might we cannot earn his presence. For those God has adopted into his family, trust that he will keep you from wandering completely away (thus the fetter or chain). Understand that this is all GRACE. These are not cords of restraint, but an embrace of love. Like a mother holds her infant child, so God keeps us close to himself, knowing what is best for us.
Ladies, as the world continues to pull at us there will be times we wander, but let these times be fewer and fewer. Learn to push against the current and press on with the strength of Christ found in his word. Like the final line in the hymn, let us offer up our hearts to the Lord asking him to seal them as his. Looking forward to the day when our wanderings cease and we enjoy his presence forevermore.