“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.”
This is the 3rd verse of one of my favorite hymns, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I have been pondering these words since we sang them in church this morning. I think I am particularly fond of this verse because I am so aware of my tendency to wander away from God. It seems so often that I find myself putting off my time with Him or avoiding and ignoring His presence because I just don’t want to meet with Him at that particular moment. Why I do this, I will never understand. It is the delight of my soul to be in God’s presence, yet I still wander away. I guess it is proof of the selfish nature still within me that just wants to do things my way.
Because of this tendency I have to wander away from my God, I often pray one line from this verse: “Bind my wandering heart to thee,” begging God to do whatever it takes to keep me close to Him. I’m not exactly sure what I expected God would use to “bind my heart” to Him. I guess I thought He would just cause me to desire Him more and desire other things less. You know, something wonderfully easy, simple and painless like that. But just yesterday, I became aware of the unexpected “rope” He has been using to bind my heart to Himself:
There are a few particular areas of my life that I feel completely out of my element. One of those areas is conflict. I DREAD conflict. Any and all of it. Even the slightest hint of it makes me anxious. I will usually do anything to avoid it and keep the peace. Tied to this fear of conflict comes a desire to please people rather than please God. In an avoidance of conflict, I have often held my tongue concerning the things of God or disobeyed God because I knew what He wanted me to do wouldn’t be very well received.
Even though I have seen growth and progress in these areas by the grace of God, I still feel just as helpless when faced with conflict or confrontation. The simplest conversation with only a small potential for conflict will still send me to my knees in prayer. As I approached one of these conversations yesterday, I realized how this area of weakness in my life keeps me running back to God. Just like a rope tethering my heart to Him.
“Bind my wandering heart to thee…” God has bound my heart to Himself. And He has used the rope of my weaknesses to do it. How I will always be grateful for anything that causes me cling to God! We always think it would be better to be free from all our weaknesses and areas of struggle. But then we wouldn’t need God anymore. Anything that causes us to be desperate for God is a blessing!
Many times, trials are just as strong of a “rope” to bind my heart to God. This past season of multiple miscarriages brought such a deep intimacy in my walk with God. The pain I was going through caused me to spend hours and hours each day in prayer and in the Word searching for answers. And I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
I’m not sure what your weaknesses or trails may be currently, but if they propel you into God’s presence in desperation, then rejoice! He is using them to keep you close to Himself. And to be in God’s presence is the greatest gift!
“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
“O to grace how great a debtor