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“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  (James 5:19-20 NIV)

We all wander.

Wandering is to “walk or move in a leisurely, casual or aimless way.”  If you ever go shopping with me, I’m a wanderer.  My husband is learning to accept this fact.  One moment I’m beside him, the next he can’t find me.  I’m not consciously looking when I meander around the store; I’m exploring.  Typically what happens, I see something that interests me, then something else, and something else.  My problem, I don’t realize how far I’ve strayed from my starting point, my husband.  He helps me turnaround when he finds me and waits patiently for me.  

We wander away from God, the same way I walk away from my husband, unintentionally. Something else captures our attention; we slowly drift away from our first love.  Everyone drifts.  We notice other people’s meanderings, even though we don’t recognize our own.  Just like my husband helps me turnaround, we can help others do the same.  Gentle actions of love can help people find their way home.

Turnaround with love.

Our best response to wandering is love.  After several years of marriage, my husband accepts my wandering.  Instead of yelling at me, he gets the look.  When I see it, I know I’ve wandered.  His gaze isn’t one of anger; it’s one of love.  His annoyance and acceptance both evident on his face.  Typically, he just asks, “Did you find anything?”  Then he smiles with arms wide open as he embraces me back into his arms.

God does the same with us.  He knows we are going to drift away.  Our wanderings are what make us realize God’s goodness. The difference is, no matter where we go, God is with us.  We never truly leave His sight because He doesn’t leave us.  Even though our movements are directionless, His eyes follow all of them. When we get too far, He sends someone to nudge us in the right direction.

Sometimes we need the nudge; other times, we’re the nudger.

Nudging, someone who has drifted, requires patience and love.  No one responds well to force; everyone reacts well to grace.

My husband doesn’t scold me for wandering. He accepts God made me this way; I will always meander.  Grace is apparent in the acceptance.  Instead of changing me, he protects me as I drift. He keeps a watchful eye when it’s time, nudging me back on track.

Wandering happens to everyone. Don’t worry, God knows everywhere you go.

Question of the Day:

Have you wandered away from your first love, God?

Further Reading:Ezekiel 42-43 NIV, James 5 NIV, Psalm 119:1-16 NIV, Proverbs 28:6-7 NIV

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