October 9

October 9
By Gabe Tseng
Confronted with change: a moment of faith and courage

When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”And He said to them, Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region. – Matthew 8:28-34

Some cool moments here. We find Jesus concerned with those on the outskirts and the outcast. These pig farmers were farmers of bacon, that was not kosher to Jewish circles. So immediately, Jesus’ disciples would have seen this as yucky and strange. Yucky because of the pigs and non-Jews along with the fact that they were demon-possessed. Jesus’ heart is for the yucky and those we may not consider being worthwhile.
 
What I have found most interesting is when the demons are cast out into the pigs and the livelihood of the men, now freed from demons are now gone. When confronted by the change that has happened, the story is no fairy tale in that it ends with the authorities and the community NOT rejoicing, but begging Jesus to leave. They were not happy with the change in their lives and ask Jesus to go away.
 
I imagine moments like this when change happens. Change in my life is so uncomfortable. It involves being confronted that my life is not good. I’ve made a hash of it. Or, it may simply be that out of nowhere, life seemingly has made a decision for me. Whether I chose a relationship that I regret getting myself into, or a friend committing suicide out of nowhere, one life change that I chose, and one I had no choice in. Both life changes were deeply painful and life-altering left me questioning in my heart of hearts, “God, I don’t like what you’ve allowed to happen here.”
 
And even like the now freed demon-possessed men, they had been freed, yet lost their livelihood of bacon, in a moment whether to step toward Jesus or send him away, they send him away, they shut him out, they step away because they are uncomfortable with what Jesus has done because it has caused them to lose much and cause a great deal of pain and suffering in their lives. We can confuse all suffering, used by God and intended for our good, as terrible and we may forget that “He disciplines those whom He loves”(Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-7). At times, that discipline can wound us and wound us deeply, exposing our deep sin and brokenness.

“God cannot use a man or woman greatly until He wounds them deeply.” -AW Tozer

Our God is not safe, but He is good, and we can trust Him. He cannot be controlled and he is wild, but He is good.
 
Susan is surprised, since she assumed Aslan was a man. She then tells Mr. Beaver, “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” She asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, to which Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.”- CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

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