A young girl and her father were walking through a forest together.
As they walked hand-in-hand, the father told the girl stories filled with wise life lessons.
During one particular story, the young girl got distracted by something stirring in the woods and stopped listening to her father.
She let go of her father’s hand and stepped off the path that had been worn in the woods.
She couldn’t find what initially grabbed her attention, so deeper into the woods she searches. She looks all around, grasping at twigs and leaves to see if that’s what drew her attention.
But nothing satisfied her seeking.
After several minutes of searching, she looks up and realizes she has lost her way. She no longer sees the path, hears the comfort of her father’s voice or feels the secure embrace of his hand.
And now she’s lost.
While this story describes where I’ve been recently in my walk with Christ, I recognize it could just as easily be you who’s reading these word identifying with it as well.
Losing our way is unsettling.
But when you’ve wandered from your first love, it’s heartbreaking.
Our wandering takes on many forms. For you, it may be a bitterness that’s shackled your heart. Or maybe a relationship has earned all your love and affection. Perhaps a certain temptation continues to knock and you continue to open the door.
Maybe, however, you’re like me and the pursuit of accomplishing something – needing to check things off your to-do list – has become your confidant. “Loving” Jesus has become a rule rather than a relationship.
It’s a lonely place when you find yourself in the middle of the forest with no way to find your way back to the path.
But the beautiful news is that your Father never left the path. He’s been waiting for you to look up and notice how far you have journeyed from Him.
Then, He calls your name.
It’s faint at first, but as you start moving back toward Him, His voice becomes louder and clearer.
There will be brush and thickets of thorns to pass through on your way back – as those are a result of your wandering. But your Father is a healer and will bind up the wounds from your wandering.
He wants you back.
He wants me back.
We simply need to look up, listen for His gentle voice and step back toward Him.