Sunday, September 27, 2009

Prone to Wander




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

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I'm come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how 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


(The following post is taken directly from a sermon by my friend and pastor Jeff Hogan.)

Many old hymns have stories attached to them. Some are well documented, while others may be modern parables. The story attached to "Come Thy Fount" involves an encounter that took place on a British stagecoach: A woman who had been reading a song book while they travelled began to notice how troubled the other passenger was. Seeking to encourage him, she recited the words to a hymn that was particularly meaningful to her. The man looked up with tears in his eyes and said, "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."

That man was Robert Robinson. And the latter part of his life was indeed very different than it had been when he originally penned those words in the early 1750's as a poem to conclude a sermon that he preached.

As a songwriter, I can tell you that you can often observe patterns, struggles and themes in a person's life through the content of their writing. And if I were to examine Robinson's life through the lense of this song, I would point to one word - used three times - that really stands out: WANDER.

"Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God"
"Let Thy goodnes, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee."
'Prone to wander, Lord I feel it - Prone to leave the God I love."

It's precisely that gut-level honesty that makes this song stand out. Wandering is a theme everyone can understand, because it can happen at any stage in our connection to God and to Christ:

Before we find Him
While we are looking for Him
After we find Him

Do you think you are moving toward God, or away from Him? Are you willing to believe that God wants you to be close to Him?

I'm not saying that He will tolerate you. I'm saying He welcomes you.

He is delighted to have you come into His presence.

Come as you are. Don't worry - you don't have to stay that way. He will change you from the inside out.

No matter how you would "categorize" yourself. If you are wandering, just turn around.

4 comments:

Doug Spurling said...

I have wandered. Far. Now I've come home like the prodigal and find myself wondering if my wandering has wasted too many years to be useful clay in the potters hands. Then I wander again. Outside and stand in awe of His signs and wonders. His creation speaks to this clay and insists I am but putty in His hand. What a wonderful God.

Peter P said...

There you go getting all spiritual again!

I'm a wanderer but I'm like one of those kids who runs away from home but doesn't get very far because he knows he's not allowed to cross the road.

I don't spend anywhere near enough time in God's presence but I never wander far... just far enough to be constantly needing to come back!

Bradley J. Moore said...

KD - This is one of my favorite hymns. I have a version that I've listened to for YEARS by Cynthia Clawson (from "Hymnsinger") circa 1988. I still get chills listening to it, and those "wandering" verses ring so true - so gut-wrenchingly true.
Thanks for the story. I had never heard the background behind it.

A Simple Country Girl said...

Hello Katdish.

Well, I am parting the bushes to make a comment. You see, I stop by here every now and then, I read, and I go on my merry way. But not today... I love that hymn. It is my favorite--I have a bluegrass version that my 5-year old son and I enjoy belting out.

From my hiding spot over in western Oregon, at the end of a dirt road, "hey" and a head nod to you.

Blessings.