Changed Forever

Please pray for Matt and I – life is so busy, and it is good in so many ways, but it can also be hard to keep up and I feel myself wearing thin. I am sick – I missed work but managed to write my midterm tonight – which in a crazy way is good because it forces me to take better care of myself… but it is not good for anything else because I can’t think clearly and have no physical stamina. This is all beside the point.

I was reading my Bible while I waited for the bus to school, and decided to pick up where I left off weeks ago in the book of Mark. I started in chapter 8 and continued into chapter 9, struck by Jesus, not really making sense of what he does or says – I mean, it makes sense in a Sunday School kind of way (it’s in the Bible, so it’s right), but if I imagine these scenes in real life 2000 years ago… no wonder the disciples were confused. In between doing miracles, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they won’t get a sign from him, and he’s always trying to be covert, healing a blind man outside of the city and telling his disciples not to reveal that he was the Christ.

Then I came to the healing of a demon possessed boy in Mark 9:14-29. Jesus is returning with Peter, James and John from his mountaintop Transfiguration, and there is a huge commotion. There is a huge crowd around the disciples, and there are scribes arguing as well – Matt and I were waiting for a bus when there was some crazy argument between a bunch of muslim girls and a group of guys – possibly someone was getting dumped. But from across the station, it just sounded like chaos, voices cackling and arms flinging and two sides facing off but so close together it looked like one small mob… and this story reminds me of that.

Jesus finds out that the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a boy, and the boys father pleads with Jesus for help. I have the father’s statement in verse 24 highlighted in my Bible: “I believe; help my unbelief!” Because so often that is where I find myself with God.

But today I was struck by Jesus’ words in the next verse: “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” Jesus is tough – he just lays down the law. And the spirit comes out so violently that people think the boy is dead, but Jesus helps him up. I am still confused because Jesus tells the disciples that this type of demon can only be cast out by prayer (but when did Jesus pray? – or was this just a demon that only the Son of God himself could cast out?), but I am encouraged by the permanence of Jesus’ command.

It reminded me of when I really gave my life to God, and I became worried that maybe I was just on a new spiritual high that would fade like all the other times, and I would just continue life on a merry-go-round of faith, sometimes up sometimes down, never really getting anywhere. Jude 24 was a huge encouragement at that time, but I also believe that this story speaks to the part of me that is afraid of spiritual intimacy and spiritual growth – that those things are just setups for a future letdown. A friend of mine once encouraged me that what God does never comes undone – that when I’m covering ground for the third, fourth, fifth time, God is doing new things in me, even when it feels like I’m just at the same place. That is important to me when it comes to my habitual failures of selfishness and fear… and I think the reason I have to keep coming back to fight the same lies in my heart is because if Jesus just blasted them out of me, it might leave me looking like a dead person. So we take things step by step.

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Susan 20-10-2010, 23:34

This reminds me of how much I miss you… The ups and downs of life can be wearing ~ this is a good perspective. Midterms already??


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