“Not All Who Wander Are Lost”
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Like many sons without fathers, young Robert fell in with the wrong crowd.
His gang of boys gambled, drank, and even went to hear George Whitfield preach in order to drown him out with their heckling. But the prophetic words of that preacher back in 1755 haunted Robert for several years until he finally turned his life completely around and followed Christ.
After becoming a minister, Robert Robinson wrote this hymn, in recognition of how far he had come: “Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.” And yet, embedded in the hymn was a knowledge of his own tendency toward unfaithfulness, “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.”
Paul reminds us Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. ~ (2 Corinthians 7:10) We can turn our lives around.
This process is called repentance, which is translated from the New Testament Greek word metanoia, which means “to change one’s mind or purpose” or “to change the inner man.”
It’s never too late to turn around and change your total direction—spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Jesus was especially drawn to those who need to repent: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
I love what J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “Not all who wander are lost.” At least not for good…
“Repentance is not an easy road. In a way, repentance is just another word for honesty taking an honest look at yourself and recognizing what binds you to death. Metanoia is a compound made from the prefix meta (to change) and nous (the mind’s understanding.) Repentance is rethinking: it means reorganizing our patterns of sin instead of denying them.” (Fredericka Matthewes-Green)
If you have godly sorrow you can change course.
Even twice, as Robert Robinson later learned. Unfortunately, he wandered away from his faith again as an older adult. But one day, while riding in a stagecoach, a woman asked him if he knew the hymn she was humming.
His reply: “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.”
And on that day, he repented yet again and experienced for the rest of his life “streams of mercy, never ceasing.”
under the mercy, Cindy
©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
My new book Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell contains a 40-day Lenten devotional “Renew” (as well as fall, Advent and summer) It arrives June 2016 from the good folks at Abingdon Press. Available in Paperback and Hardcover. During Lent 2016 I will include some of those devotionals on my weekly blog.