Prone to Wander

When quarantine started in March, I was determined that I would be more in love with Jesus at the end of quarantine than I was at the beginning. Each morning, I would decide ways to spend my time that day falling in love with Jesus. Each night, I would reflect on what parts of Jesus I fell more in love with. It was such a special time for me and God.

But the quarantine was also such a special time for me and my friends! We played tons of games, watched a million movies, went on lots of walks, and talked for hours and hours.
 
Fast forward a few months and I started noticing feelings of emptiness and hurt. I became frustrated with my friends because they weren’t “filling me up” like I thought they should. As I began to bring these feelings to God, He started slowly revealing to me that I had turned to my friends as my source of life rather than Him.
 
I started to see the ways my actions reflected this truth. I didn’t think much about falling in love with Jesus because I didn’t make any time to. I’m reminded of Jeremiah 2:13: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

I was frustrated at the broken cisterns for not giving me water when I never should have been going to them for water in the first place. I wondered how I could have started the quarantine with the goal to be more in love with Jesus and gotten so far off track.
 
God, as He so kindly does, gently led me into the truth as I approached Him with my hurt. When I brought my feelings of emptiness and rejection to God, I was met with overwhelming love and peace. He wasn’t turning his back on me because I had wandered from Him. Instead, He was holding me closely.
 
I love the verse in the hymn "Come Thou Fount" that says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
 
Wander truly is the best word for it. I’d been praying for Jesus-following friends for such a long time that I couldn’t see that I had replaced the gift (friends) with the giver (God).

As Christ followers, it can be easy to think that because we are not committing the “obvious” sins that we’re doing fine. When in reality, it’s easy to put our hope in things that are not God. We see this in the book of Hosea over and over again as Gomer constantly runs from Hosea’s love to be with other men. Though the story of Hosea and Gomer is a parallel of God and his people, it can be hard to relate to Gomer sometimes. It feels like her adultery is a dramatic example to compare ourselves to. But truly, Gomer was just going back to what felt familiar and safe.

Friendships, school, work, and relationships can feel so familiar and safe that we can easily be blinded with how much we’ve invested in them rather than in God. Then we look up one day and realize how far we have wandered from God.
 
Binding our wandering hearts to God doesn’t just happen as we live our lives. It takes intentional thought and effort. When my purpose every day was to fall more in love with Jesus, I did. I lived out of that purpose. What purpose are you living out of today?

I encourage you to spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any ways you may have wandered from God. Repent of them, and come back to your loving Father. He isn’t mad at you for wandering off. He just wants you back. All of you.
 
Author | Makinizi Hoover

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