In worship time this week, we were reminded again–through song and Carey’s words–of God’s unbelievable grace. Here’s what Carey had to say:
Come Thou Fount of every blessing,Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise; Teach me some melodious sonnet Sung by flaming tongues above; Praise the mount; I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.
I was lost in utter darkness ‘Til You came and rescued me; I was bound by all my sin When Your love came and set me free; Now my soul can sing a new song, Now my heart has found a home; Now Your grace is always with me, And I’ll never be alone.
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, Lord, take and seal it,Seal it for Thy courts above.
The words to that great old hymn were penned in the 1700’s by a 22 year old man – Robert Robinson. I have heard the story told about Robert walking away from his faith shortly after he wrote the words to this hymn. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love . . . .” From what I could gather (in my very limited research via good old Google) that is at best only a possibility. There doesn’t seem to be any confirmation the story is true.
However, I would submit to you the sentiment IS true – even if that specific story is not. It is true of me, and I would guess that–if you’re honest – it is true of you as well. We ARE prone to wander in most every area of our lives.
We wander physically when we know we shouldn’t drink that 3rd or 4th beer but do, or when we decide to eat that whole dozen donuts. We wander emotionally when we let our feelings of anger erupt into words that wound deeply – even though it may feel good at the time. We wander spiritually when we stay away from corporate worship even though God has told us that coming together is essential for our spiritual health. The list goes on and on. I am prone to wander. It is part of the human condition.
As Bryan (Clark) so often says, “No one wakes up in the morning and says, ‘Today, I will ruin my life’.” The process always happens through a series of small choices that could lead to our eventual ruin.
BUT GOD has a solution. His grace and mercy are never-ending and always available and always enough to cover our wanderings and allow us to come back into the light. Sometimes we hesitate to apologize to someone because we’re not sure what their response will be. But with God, the response is always forgiveness and grace and mercy and an invitation to dance with him again.
One of the passages that has sustained me and continues to sustain me through the course of my life is Lamentations 3:22-24:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; Therefore, I will hope in him!
To be offered the chance to start again – not just once but over and over, any time that I fail–is an absolute wonder. God is the only one who offers that kind of mercy and grace. His mercies never cease. They are new EVERY morning (and throughout the day). May we never stop taking advantage of that mercy.
“A thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains, And should I stumble again, still I’m caught in Your grace…”
Thank you, Jesus.