Prone to Wander
Robert Robinson was an 18th century Baptist preacher, author and hymn writer. He was converted at the age of 20, three years after he and several of his friends attended an evangelistic meeting where George Whitfield delivered a powerful message on the wrath of God. At the age of 23, in 1758, Robinson penned the words to one of our most familiar hymns: Come thou Fount of Every Blessing. The fourth verse says;
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.
Later in life those words came back to haunt Robinson as he dealt with the reality of his inclination to wander. He had fallen back into a life of sin and found himself sitting in a stagecoach with a woman who was joyfully humming the melody of that song. The woman turned to him and asked him if he knew the hymn, which had been such a great encouragement to her. Robinson 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.”
What makes a man, who had once walked so closely to God, wander so far from his spiritual roots? The secondary question has to be: “How can we, as believers, avoid falling into the same trap?”
In II Peter 1:9 the Apostle Peter speaks of an individual who has neglected his faith. Because of his carelessness he is now “blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” He has forgotten where he was when God found him, as well as what God did to redeem him. In Romans 2:4 Paul declares that it is “the goodness of God” that “leadeth thee to repentance.”
Robinson knew the answer to both of those questions – he addressed the issue in the verse mentioned earlier: “Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.” The truth is simple: Never forget the goodness and grace of God!
May our hearts be ever “sealed” for God’s service.