“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love.”
I don’t want those well-known hymn lyrics to be true of me. But every time I sing them, especially recently, they resonate so deeply within the depths of my being, and I know that they are.
I am prone to wander.
I am prone to leave.
There’s a battle being waged between my flesh and my spirit.
And at certain times, it becomes particularly intense.
It takes my heart and mind and energy and all.
But why does this battle – this sometimes all out fight – so often surprise me? Why does it still catch me off guard?
Isn’t this what I was promised in Scripture? Isn’t this what I was guaranteed?
Not happiness, not material gain, not even the husband that my heart so often longs for and desires.
But battle. Against evil. In the spiritual realm.
This is the guarantee for those who bear the name, the image, of Jesus Christ, for those who identify as his followers.
But in the battle, I also have the promise of his Spirit, his very presence with me, his ultimate and eternal victory, his prevailing purpose.
And from an eternal perspective, isn’t that better?
I don’t like the ugly and painful middle of the battle any more than the next person. I hurt and cry and get angry and so often just plain don’t understand. But I also look back on who HE is and on what HE has done, on his constancy, on his provision, on his faithfulness to his promises, and I still want this life.
This life I live WITH him. This life I live IN him.
And mostly. I still want him.
I still want to follow and trust and obey.
And even that is an absolute testimony to his goodness and grace because that’s not my flesh talking.
If I’m being really honest, in my rawest moments, my flesh just wants out. To be done. To not be held to these standards, to not care so much, to not be sensitive to the needs and hearts around me, to not live under the weight of conviction. To do things my own way.
But that makes me all the more grateful for this Good Shepherd who knows and loves and holds his sheep.
He holds on tight and is faithful to speak the truth when I need to hear it the most.
And even when it’s hard, even when I can barely make it out over the roar of the world’s lies and temptations, I know his voice.
Because I know him.
It’s the voice speaking the truth that I am his. The truth that I am known. The truth that I am loved. The truth that I am redeemed.
And that is truth worth fighting for.