I will heal your backslidings

John MacDuff

“I will heal your backslidings.” —Hosea 14:4

Wandering again! And has He not left me to perish? Stumbling and

straying on the dark mountains, away from the Shepherd’s eye and the

Shepherd’s fold, shall He not leave the erring wanderer to the fruit of

his own ways, and his truant heart to go hopelessly onward in its career

of guilty estrangement? “My thoughts,” says God, “are not as your

thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” Man would say, “Go, perish!

ungrateful apostate!” God says, “Return, O backsliding children!” The

Shepherd will not, cannot allow those sheep to perish which He has

purchased with His own blood! How wondrous His forbearance towards

it!—tracking its guilty steps, and ceasing not the pursuit until He lays

the wanderer on His shoulders, and returns with it to His fold

rejoicing! My soul! why increase by farther departures your own distance

from the fold?—why lengthen the dreary road your gracious Shepherd has

to traverse in bringing you back? Do not delay your return! Do not

provoke His patience any longer! Do not venture farther on forbidden

ground! He waits with outstretched arms to welcome you once more to His

bosom. Be humble for the past, trust Him for the future. Think of your

former backslidings, and tremble—think of His patience, and be filled

with holy gratitude; think of His promised grace, “and take courage.”

Go and lay your icy heart upon

His flaming heart of love!

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