Do You Know a "Wanderer?"

I’m reading a GREAT book right now by James McDonald.

The back cover copy reads:

“Whether you are the wanderer or your heart is breaking for one, Come Home is filled with truth and direction you need.”

It’s based on a familiar verse to many, but McDonald brilliantly and graciously challenges us to considerate it as an invitation directly from God.

            “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”  James 5:91-20

I don’t want to give the whole book away because I’m hoping you’ll read it, but McDonald admonishes the reader to be “the” someone who goes and gets the wanderer. He makes the case that most wanderers need a “person” not just an ideology or a theological convincing to return “home.” The author invites the reader to pray, asking God to bring to mind one or two specific persons who have wandered away from God. He urges us to “go get the wanderer.” He does have a caveat however. He writes that usually the first person that comes to our mind is someone close to us—a son, daughter, brother, sister, or other family member. He writes:

“But let me make a painful observation. Sometimes the obvious wanderer is not the person you’ll be able to get. Chances are you’ve probably already made a couple moves in that regard…Here’s what I suggest: God is going to have to touch someone else’s heart to go get them. You may come to the place where you realize they’ll have to hear it from someone else. So pray for the obvious wanderer, but go get the less obvious one God puts on your heart. Then trust God to put the one closest to you on someone else’s heart.”

When I read these words I immediately flashed back to a time in my own life when I wandered away from God. It happened somewhat gradually, when at 18, a relationship I was in didn’t turn out the way I wanted. It wasn’t an all out rebellion at first, but a gradual slide that turned into an avalanche by the time I was 22.

When I was in college, I was hired by the Probation Department to work 20 hours a week. I was placed in a unit for wards of the court, children from birth to seventeen, who had been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. I worked with a team of three other staff members, all who were in their thirties or above. I was the “new kid” who thought she had a pretty good handle on life and this type of work. My arrogance and idealism was soon met with reality.

Some of my co-workers had been in their position for years. Many were well-seasoned and some were jaded in their attitudes about trying to help these unfortunate kids.

One man stood out from the rest. Bill Marx was a joyful, easy going guy in his early thirties with a wife and two young kids. There was a peacefulness about Bill. Nothing seemed to rattle him. I didn’t know it at the time, but God sent Bill to “get the wanderer”—and that was me!

In my next post, I’ll share the amazing story that changed the trajectory of my life.

I wonder if God is stirring your heart? Is there a “wanderer” in your sphere of influence that God may be sending you to go get? I’m praying and asking God who he would want me to pursue. Do you want to join me?