The sermon I heard on Sunday was about the demon-possessed man Jesus set free in Luke 8:26-39. This was the weirdest thing that struck me:
When Jesus arrived, “He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs… [The demon that possessed him] had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert…many demons had entered him.”
Nuts, right? This guy is scary, and his situation is scary. He is not someone I would want as a neighbour, even if he did keep to the tombs. This is not a man I would want to have to explain to my children.
How did the Gerasenes feel? “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. “
I don’t know what is scary about this. I’m trying to think if maybe there is anything in my life that (insanely) I am more scared of Jesus making right than just living with it.
Last month, I read Desire by John Eldridge. His message is that desire is the key to our hearts, and too many Christians are smothering their desires in efforts to be “godlier.” He says that by killing our desires, our hearts are dying also, and as a result we are left as dull and sterile shadows of who God would have us be. Eldridge says that Christians must not allow themselves to be satisfied in this world, because we were designed for Paradise.
Sometimes I feel like I could swell up and explode with how full life can be – the moments of contentment, abundance, and delight. But I also swing (usually quickly) to the other extreme of cynicism and fatigue, seemingly unable to embrace life to the full because… I don’t know why. It feels like I just shut down.
The last two weeks have had so many spiritual ups and downs, but in a very different way than I’ve experienced before – usually I rebound between intimacy with God and independence or indifference, but these ups and downs have been all wrapped up in closeness with God. The ups have been conversations and prayers God has used to convict and heal and challenge me; lows have been letting myself hurt and loving people who are hurt, and mourning. Sometimes it is so good to just break down in front of God, but it can also be scary because there aren’t guarantees that God will put everything back together. Sometimes there are still jagged edges and frailty, and God doesn’t pat me on the head and tell me it’s okay, because it just isn’t. But I’m comforted that God doesn’t allow his dissatisfaction to come in the way of his love, and neither should we.
I’ve had this song stuck in my head lately… You Never Let Go – Matt Redman