Can you believe it?
What a wild ride this year has been and we have the memes and the scars to prove it.
Yesterday we got our flu shots and as they were sticking the needle in my arm I hoped and prayed they got it right in the labs this year. I have to confess I questioned how willingly I allow doctors to just inject stuff into me anymore.
There is so much out of our control. It has always been this way, but 2020 has ramped it up to a level I don’t think any of us could have imagined.
This morning I was reading in Mark and the familiar passages of Jesus’ teaching parables and casting out demons and falling asleep in a boat that was in danger of capsizing. My pen was busy marking up the margins and I paused often to just let His power and compassion sink deep into my weary soul.
The one story that gets me every time is the demon possessed man of the region of Gadarenes.
Not just one demon, but a whole legion had filled this man and brought him to a place where the townspeople tried to chain him but he couldn’t be restrained.
Naked and out of his mind, I picture his wild eyes and filth.
I can imagine the former fisherman rowing the boat up to shore. After surviving a near death experience the night before they are greeted by this mess of humanity.
I’m sure they had to be quaking in their sandals as they edged back towards what could be their escape vehicle. They had to be thinking…oh heck no…He is NOT going to talk to this guy is He??
But talk He did.
Not to the mad man, but to the ones who held him captive.
And then they watched as this demonic force of many was commanded to leave, and shockingly Jesus let them pick their next location to inhabit.
The disciples had to have stood slack jawed while a herd of pigs went rushing to their death over the side of a hill.
And all of that is quite a story, but this is the part that gets me.
This man who had been so foul, so out of control, so full of evil was in a moment back in his right mind. Dressed and clean, the townspeople found him sitting with Jesus as civil as you please.
Two things amaze me in this. Besides the whole exorcism, pig suicide scene and general intensity of Mark’s narrative.
The first is the response of the town people.
Basically they were confronted with the most amazing power of transformation from evil to good and they begged the one who could do it to leave.
The second is Jesus’ response to His newest follower.
This man who had been an outcast and a terror to his community was suddenly full of the goodness of God and the love of his Lord and Savior who had delivered him from bondage to powers that wanted to destroy him and destroy through him. He is now a devoted follower of the Son of God and he wants to go with Him and learn from Him and Jesus tells him no.
He tells him to stay right there in that place that is afraid of the power that saves and delivers and share his story.
He doesn’t worry or fear for His new follower to go back to old ways. He isn’t concerned that the demons are going to have another go at him. He places faith in this man’s faith and He says…stay.
Apparently this man’s testimony and the indwelling of the Spirit will be enough to empower him to live out his ministry right there where his conversion happened.
Much to ponder on that one. Some are called to go and some are called to stay. Oh for ears to hear <3