Mark 5 greets us with Jesus and his companions in a boat crossing a lake to the Gerasenes where they dock. As soon as Jesus steps out the boat, a man possessed by demons approaches him. This demon possessed man lived and dwelled in tombs (think caves) where he would yell, cry out and cut himself with rocks, night and day. Unsuccessfully, people tried to subdue this possessed man with irons and chains, but he broke them.
At first sight, the demons in this man immediately recognize Jesus as the Christ and beg for mercy. They plead that Jesus not destroy them, but rather send them in the nearby herd of pigs. Jesus agrees and the demons leave the man to enter the herd. The pigs run down a bank into the river and drown. The man in the tombs is delivered, set free, healed!
I love this passage because it reminds me WHO is in control. I am constantly trying to control the issues of my life and my surroundings. I have tried to educate myself and acquire knowledge to insure a pleasant and prosperous future (I am smart. No, really!). I try to eat healthy and keep my body in optimum working order (Except for the excess weight- Lord help!). I have a supportive family that I love and who reciprocates love to me. I am surrounded with good, reliable, upstanding and gifted friends who I care for and who care for me.
All of this and I am unemployed. I know that I am not alone. I have friends and relatives in the same boat. But, Lord, it is me! I have prayed and cried about it. I have looked for opportunities, and submitted resumes. I have talked to "connected" people. Some have promised things, but none have come through. Nothing has worked. Clearly, I am NOT in control of this situation. Neither was the demoniac in control of his.
I went through periods of depression and feeling sorry for myself. Then, one day I look up. God speaks and lives in my life. I am blessed. I am able to pay my bills with a few consulting gigs. I have a savings- not yet depleted. I am starting a new business. Even if these circumstances are not completely what I wanted or asked for, God is making a way!
When I think of asking the Lord for something specific, I remember the demoniac bargaining with Jesus. I’ve done that. “Lord, if you just get me out of this mess, I will go to church...tithe...study the Bible...pray...visit the sick...blah, blah, blah!” The Lord hears my cry, works out my situation and I start going to church- sometimes. I study the bible sometimes. Sometimes, I even put the name of the sick and shut-in on the prayer list. Truth is, this bargaining I do is unnecessary. Like the man in the tombs, my victory and deliverance is an act of Grace and Mercy. GOD IS IN CONTROL!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for Grace and Mercy- even when I don’t deserve it; even when I don’t have the wherewithal to ask.