Have you ever had one of those moments where something causes you to stop and look around, and you wonder how in the world you got there? If you’re like my sister, you can start out driving to the south part of town and, if you’re not using your GPS, you can somehow end up 20 miles north instead! Or maybe you’re like me, and you set out to be productive on your day off, and somehow you end up watching cat videos on the internet! While I can certainly acknowledge the danger in spending my day watching cat videos instead of doing my homework, there are certain times when I seem to get off track in ways that have a much greater impact on my life.
I’m a knowledge person. Here’s what I mean by that; I love to read and learn more about God and the Christian faith, and that is a big part of what stirs up my affections and sets me on fire for God. Yet, this is how it seems to work; God teaches me something, and I’m incredibly excited about it. I’m overflowing with thankfulness for His revelation and instruction, even His correction. I journal about it, I discuss it with my small group, and I might even write a blog post about it.
But the days go by, and turn into weeks… weeks turn into months… and then suddenly I’m confronted with the fact that somewhere along the way I got sidetracked, and I completely lost sight of what God taught me; the very thing I was so ecstatic about in the first place!
If I ever had a shred of self-righteous pride in my Christian walk, it was just destroyed.
My guess is that I’m not the only person who has experienced this, and if you have then you know what a humbling experience it is.
Maybe, like me, you’ve read the Old Testament accounts of the Israelites and been frustrated with their propensity to stray from God. Maybe, like me, you’ve had thoughts like; “these people witnessed all these amazing miracles, and God went to such great lengths to teach them, yet they were so quick to run off and do their own thing… what IDIOTS!” But the truth is, the spiritual apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The truth is, it is far too easy for me to become prideful, to think that I’ve got it figured out (although I would never admit that out loud). So I thank God for these moments where He reminds me that I still have a long way to go. It is in these moments that I come face to face with my humanity, and I am potently reminded of the frailty of my condition, and my utter and complete dependence on God. It is in these moments that my heart resonates with the 18th century hymn by Robert Robinson;
“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.” (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)
It’s no secret that the human heart is prone to wander… Prone to leave the very One that our hearts were created to desire. It is a mystery to me why my heart would ever want to leave that blessed place of communion and dependence on my Creator, yet it happens time and time again. But time and time again, in His incomprehensible love and goodness, God draws me back to Himself.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 103:8)
I am so grateful that I serve such a gracious and patient God… A God who so gently corrects me and restores me back to the truth, whose patience is so far beyond my comprehension. There are no words to express my gratitude that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, NIV). I am reminded that the role of God’s amazing grace in my life did not end the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior; His grace continues each and every day as He corrects and restores my wandering heart.
“Twas grace that brought us safe thus far… and Grace will lead us home.” (Amazing Grace, John Newton)