I realized Stan had stopped talking when I looked at him and he said, “Are you listening to me?”
“Sorry, Stan,” I replied, “my mind was wandering a bit and I was thinking about something else. Really sorry!”
“That’s okay,” Stan responded. “I, too, have a tendency to let my mind wander. I just try to be careful not to let it wander so far it can’t come back.”
“Seems to me,” I said, “I remember some famous politician once mistakenly saying that a mind is a terrible thing to lose, when he meant a terrible thing to waste.”
“I don’t remember that,” Stan replied, “but people do say some strange things from time to time!”
“In any event,” he continued, “this whole subject of wandering reminds me of the line from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Lord of the Rings, where he said, in essence, that not all who wander are lost.”
“Not all who wander are lost,” I repeated. “Do you agree with that?”
“Seems to me,” he replied, “that it depends on who’s wandering where, as well as why they’re wandering. To give you an example from the person I know best, I have certainly wandered in ways that showed I was lost.”
“During all of the time before I became a Christian,” Stan replied, “I was certainly wandering as a lost person. I was lost for eternity and didn’t even know it.”
“Even now, as a Christian,” he continued, “I have a tendency to wander away from God, doing what I want to do, when and where I want to do it. That doesn’t make me lost in the eternal sense because I have accepted the finished work of Christ’s cross, but it can certainly make me lost in the sense of not being where God wants me to be during the remainder of the time I have on this side of eternity.”
“How can a person not wander in that way?” I asked.
“For me,” Stan replied, “the best way to keep from wandering lost on this side of eternity is to make sure I’m following the One who wants to lead me.”
“Following the One who wants to lead,” I said. “That sounds like the third step of discipleship, after denying self and taking up what I’m supposed take up. You think that’s a fair statement?
“Indeed I do,” Stat replied with a smile. “Discipleship is a good way to keep from wandering!”
Bible verses to consider:
With all my heart I have sought you; do not let me wander from your commandments. Psalm 119:10.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region. Psalm 107:4.
For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness . . . . Joshua 5:6.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for providing the way through the finished work of Christ’s cross to not be lost for eternity. Through your free and gracious provision, you saved me from endless wandering apart from you when it’s time for me to step into eternity. Thank you, too, that you want to lead me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do wander away from you because I want to do what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive the foolishness of that wandering. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do follow you and not wander away on my own. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus, the One I am to follow. Amen.
Think on this: Have you stopped wandering from God for eternal purposes and know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, what’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with not wandering away from God on your own while you remain on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in how you follow and not wander, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?