I was raised by parents that knew Jesus. When I was little, my mom talked to me a lot about Jesus and the Word of God. I accepted Christ as my Savior as a young girl at church. I prayed often, especially when I was worried or afraid. The old song “Why worry when you can pray!” was my favorite as a little girl. I knew who God was. I knew he was in my life. And I knew how he wanted me to live. As I got older, I still knew I was a Child of God, but I wasn’t acting like it.
As I was reading the Bible today, I came across a verse that described what I spent years of my life doing. It describes what many children of God do when they become deceived by the lies of this world.
Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 78:40-41
When I was living prodigally, I thought less and less about how my lifestyle was affecting my relationship with God. I prayed only when I was afraid or when I needed something from God. I barely read my Bible. I didn’t go to church or spend time around people that loved the Lord. Just like the Israelites had done when they were in the wilderness, I had become like the world around me. I was mingling with the “gods” of this world rather than living set apart for the One True God.
But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies. – Psalm 78:52-53
But God is faithful! He was faithful for the Israelites. He has been faithful for me. And he will be faithful for any of his children that repent and return to him. The wilderness and the wasteland are not places where a child of God should linger. As soon as we recognize we’ve started to wander, it’s time to turn and run back to our loving Father!