‘Prone to Wander’  


In the 1700s, a twenty-two-year-old Methodist pastor named Robert Robinson wrote a hymn called “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Perhaps you have sung it sometime in church. It begins as, “Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.” I never gave too much thought to this hymn, until I heard the fourth verse. “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.” What did Robinson mean when he spoke of his heart that was prone to wander away from God?

It is told that one day, as Robert Robinson was riding in a stagecoach, a lady was humming the melody of this hymn. She then asked him what he thought of the song. Robinson reportedly responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.” If this account is true, it suggests that Robinson wandered away from the faith for a period of time, and lived a miserable life as the result.

However, Robinson’s life took a positive turn when he encountered a minister named George Whitefield, who preached a powerful sermon that touched Robinson’s heart. This encounter led to Robinson to turn back to God and to recommit himself to his faith. He later returned to the ministry and continued to serve in various roles until his death in 1790.

At times, many of us may struggle with the temptation to stray in our relationship with Christ. However, we can praise God for His faithfulness to keep us and to bring us back. The Bible tells us of a time when the Apostle Peter stumbled in his faith. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus warned Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Peter could not believe that such a thing could happen, and he said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” I’m certain that Peter truly meant what he said and had complete confidence in his commitment to Christ. Yet, before that night was over, Peter denied knowing Jesus, not just once, but three times. Thankfully Jesus also said to Peter, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32) The security of Peter’s salvation was not Peter holding onto Jesus, but Jesus holding on to him.

I leave you today with these encouraging words from the book of Hebrews. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:4-16)

God bless you, Brethren.

* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

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