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.
--Robert Robinson, 1758
For years, my heart has been wandering in a desert so arid and parched that I never thought I would be able to find the oasis. I walk aimlessly in search of life, but all I can feel is the hot sand beneath my feet, and the blinding sun beating down on my weathered face. A glistening mirage comes into view. This is what I have dreamed about! I've finally found what I've been looking for! But then I realize that it's only more sand, only heat playing with my eyes. Water and life seem within arms' reach at times; other times it is impossible to see through the blinding heat. I can do this on my own, I would tell myself. Many have survived through this desert on their own, right? I am strong enough.
After many hours, days, or even months, I cannot take the suffering any longer. In my wretchedness, I fall on my face in the sand, panting for water. I cry out to God, my Shepherd. Like a bleating sheep, He lifts me up and carries me in His arms to the garden of His goodness. He takes care of me. But I become unrestless, unsettled. I don't trust my Shepherd's place for me. Thoughts of doubt fill my head. Surely I can find my own way. Life seems so much better out there. My desires are out in the desert. Surely I can find them! I've forgotten the pain I had endured. I've forgotten that my way is not best for me. And so I wander back out into the desert, trusting in myself to see me through. Only to be sought after, found, and taken back into my Shepherd's arms.
This happens time and time again, but I don't want it to be this way. Lord, hold me in Your arms, and never let me go! I cry to You--keep me from my doubts and fears that guide my heart away from You.