God's children may backslide.
(from Octavius Winslow's "Backsliders Returning")
If the spirit of prayer is restrained, if the means
of grace are neglected; and, as a consequence of
all this inward declension, the world should have
an ascendancy, Satan prevail, and the sin that
does most easily beset them attain a momentary
triumph, it is no strange thing that....
their love to Him should wax cold,
their faith decline,
their strength decay,
their zeal slacken, and
their godly frames grow sleepy and inert.
But still they are God's children!
O wondrous grace!
O changeless love!
Chastened, corrected, rebuked, and humbled,
their heavenly Father will restore them to His
pardoning love and gracious favor, and they
shall again walk with Him filially, humbly,
softly, as His dear children!
Behold, we come just as we are. We come from
the swine's trough; we come from feeding upon
husks, upon ashes, and upon the wind. We come
with the bruise, the wound, the dislocated limb.
We come deploring our fall, confessing our
departure, mourning over our sin.
Lord receive us graciously, love us freely, and turn
your anger away from us. "I will arise and go unto my
Father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned."
What! after all that I have done! In the face
of my willful transgression, of my base ingratitude,
of my abused mercies, of my past restorings,
of my aggravated departures, of all the past
of Your mercy, Your goodness, Your faithfulness,
Your love, do You still bid me return?
Does the overture, the outstretched hand, the
first step, come from You? Then, behold, I come
unto You, for You are the Lord my God!
Your power draws!
Your goodness dissolves!
Your faithfulness binds my heart!
Your grace restores!
Your love pardons!
Your blood heals my soul and, behold! I come.
Your voice, so kind, invites me!
Your feet, so unwearied, seek me!
Your hand, so gentle, leads me!
Your look, so loving, so melting,
so forgiving, wins me!
Lord, I must not, I dare not, I cannot
stay away. Behold! I come unto You!