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Wandering Hearts

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Sheep have a natural inclination to wander. They are anxious, jumpy creatures who keenly sense danger—even when none is apparent, turning tail to flee. Sheep also instinctively follow older sheep without hesitation. If the lead sheep gets sidetracked, others follow, sometimes into danger. They are also social creatures who seek guidance and security from their flock. Staying close to their companions provides advantages but can also lead to wandering.

Like sheep, we tend to stray from God's path. Our anxious hearts sense real or perceived danger, and we flee. We chase after worldly desires, turning away from the Shepherd's guidance. Our wandering leads to spiritual peril. As sheep follow older flock members, we follow societal norms, peer pressure, or influential figures. Sometimes, these leaders veer off course, and we unthinkingly follow, even into moral danger. Whereas sheep seek security in their flock, we find comfort in our social circles. While community is vital, it can also lead us astray if we prioritize conformity over righteousness. 

Our hearts, like sheep, seek greener pastures elsewhere. We chase after fleeting desires, ignoring the Shepherd's voice. Our wandering leads to brokenness, isolation, and spiritual hunger.


Yet, amid our waywardness, there stands a Good Shepherd. Jesus, the Lamb of God, knows our tendency to stray. He leaves the ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep. His love compels Him to traverse the treacherous terrain, calling us back. When we wander into sin, He pursues us relentlessly. His grace reaches even the darkest corners of our hearts, whispering, "Come home."

Although I was raised in a deeply religious family and faithfully attended and participated in our church, when I went away to college, I wandered from the path. I knew what I had but didn't know what I was missing. In my idle wanderings, I did the usual sinful things of many in their late teens and early twenties. After some ten years of searching for something "better," I realized that the "better" was what I had left behind. Thanks to God's persistent care and calling, I found my way back into the fold. 

The climax of Isaiah's prophecy unfolds at the cross, where all our sins are lain upon Jesus, the sinless Lamb, who bore our sins—the weight of our wandering—upon His shoulders. His sacrifice reconciles us to God. We find forgiveness, restoration, and a path back to the fold through His blood. The Shepherd's love bridges the gap we created.

Today, let us heed the Shepherd's call. God still calls to us no matter how far we may have wandered off the path. Our wandering does not change the fact that Jesus died for our sins. Let us turn from our own way and follow Him. When we feel lost, when our hearts wander, we can trust that His rod and staff guide us. In our faith community—our spiritual flock—we find encouragement, correction, and shared faith. Together, we journey toward the eternal pasture where the Shepherd Himself awaits.

Heavenly Father, our Good Shepherd, thank You for pursuing us relentlessly. Forgive our wandering hearts. Draw us close so we may hear Your voice and follow Your lead. May we find rest in Your presence, knowing that You bear our sins. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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