…and all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone…
…the crowds received Jesus with open arms because they had been waiting for Him.
I sat before the fire this morning with a cup of steaming tea in one hand and my Bible in my lap. Groggy from sleeping too late, restless and needing real rest, I felt all unsettled inside.
The words caught me.
The story of a whole town pressuring Jesus to leave after He’d done good— rid a crazy man of his demons.
Why weren’t they okay with that?
And then right up against that question, rose the story of a whole town pressing in around Jesus for help and healing.
How did they know?
On one side of the lake an immense crowd gathered to beg Jesus to go away. To leave them alone.
On the other side of that same lake, equally insistent crowds waited with open arms to invite Him right into the midst of their stories.
Why would one person push Him away and another pull Him close?
And aren’t I just a little spiritually bi-polar too?
On some things down right rigid in my strict adherence to His Word…
and on others clearly disobedient and mostly unapologetic.
Why do I ramp up the intensity of my words in order to get my own way… when I well know that what God relishes in a woman is a gentle and quiet spirit?
Why do I lay awake at night worrying about my kids… when He has so clearly stated that He loves them with a greater love than I could ever grasp?
And why can’t I help myself?
Why don’t I stop?
Fully awake now, I scoot forward, lay aside my tea and sniff around these stories. What I find gives me much more than a caffeine jolt.
The ones who wanted Him away were afraid. Not of the stark naked, demon filled, manic man who broke through chains and dominated the countryside. They were used to him. Had it under control.
What scared them witless was Jesus’ undeniable power to bankrupt their undercover pig operation. Here was a kosher Jewish town making a killing on hogs.
They had a secret that Jesus knew about and they thought by pushing Him out of the picture they could keep stockpiling all that lovely stash without the whole world knowing.
And maybe I have secrets too. Secret pride. Secret fears. Secret things that feel safe to me. And I don’t want Jesus to have anything to do with my hog business.
Then there’s the other guys. They welcomed Jesus. Held open their arms and fairly wrestled Him into their lives.
A leader fell flat on his face before Jesus, blithefully ignorant of what everyone else might think. His daughter was dying and by golly this guy was going to do everything in his power to get the help he needed to save her.
He was desperate.
A woman grabbed onto the tassle at the bottom of His robe and held on for dear life, stopping Jesus’ journey through the crowds. Nothing and nobody was going to stop her from getting from Him what she wanted more than life itself. Weak and weary and tired of the isolation of illness, this woman would go down in history for her insistence that Jesus help her.
She was sick of being sick.
I think there’s a treasure to be unburied in these side-by-side stories.
Something about fear and faith. And how you can’t have both. One cancels out the other.
Faith overrides fear and fear deletes faith.
I chew on this all day. Keep coming back to the stories. What am I missing?
I don’t want to be a bi-polar believer.
Moving from crisis to crisis, one season all good and peace-filled and other’s centered…
Too soon swinging to anxious, overwrought, ready to burst into tears because life is hard and how come that happened and why me?
And while I am praying and seeking and wondering, words jump out at me:
I know those words. And I know something else—
that the life I long for cannot be had as long as I insist on holding God to my way…
the life I long for is mine for the taking if I’ll only refuse the fear by fully entrusting every single teeny tiny facet of my life to Him.
Everything. Everyone. Fully.
And so I get up to face my day with three treasures tucked into my heart, stored in my mind, settled into my soul…
1. It’s usually when I’m up against death and desperation- really scary stuff— that I come begging for Him.
2. Not until I get sick and tired of being sick and tired will I live the life I long for.
3. Fear is what gets in the way of what I really want.
These are three things I cannot afford to keep forgetting, and neither can you. But I’ll need the help of other women who want what I want.
Women who’ve declared themselves all His.
Women who are daring to trust Him even when they’re really not crazy about all that desperation and dying talk.
Women who are willing to call me out when I start hiding hogs again.
Women like you…
From my heart,
PS: Can you write us some stories of times you fell on your face in full on faith that only He could fix those broken places? We need to hear your songs of deliverance to help build up our own wobbly faith.