34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
You know what my kids love? Band aids. You know what my kids hate? Taking them off.
No matter how gentle you pull, how loose it is to start with, my son screams as if we are stabbing him....even before we remove it. You can't keep a band aid on forever. At some point, for the healing and fresh air, you have to remove it. But it stings like the dickens. I am in my 30's and still cringe at the moment right before I take one off of myself.
You know what I love? Not having the flu. You know what I hate? Shots. Needles. Any sort of pointy and stabby pain giving device. My wife thinks I am ridiculous. As a nurse she loves stabbing people with needles, and can even set herself up with a blood draw without blinking. The pain I am afraid of is pretty much 99% in my head. And for some reason, I would, for a moment, rather be sick then experience that pain.....that is mostly in my head.
In this passage of Matthew we see Jesus arrive in the region Gadarenes. Upon disembarking from His boat He is greeted by violent and crazed demon possessed men. It tells us that they are so violent that no one can even pass through this area. So, a whole region purposely avoids even venturing near where these men are. It is sort of like Detroit..... No one wants to be there, and no one is willing to do anything about it.
Jesus, being God and all, deals with the demons quite simply. He casts them out of the men and sends them into a bunch of pigs nearby. The pigs, now themselves possessed by demons, throw themselves to their deaths off of a cliff.
Here we have a whole region paralyzed by fear of what these violent men were doing. Two men had shut down reasonable travel for all the inhabitants of the area. And how did the people respond to this fantastic miracle? They begged Jesus to leave.
The deed was done. The pigs were dead and the men were no longer violently possessed lunatics. Why would they want Jesus to leave now?
They were afraid of what else He might heal.
We become comfortable in our uncomfortableness. The cost of moving forward feels to great too do more than just sit right where we are. These men had ruined the comfort of the region for who knows how long. And, instead of being glad of the miracle, the people are worried that Jesus might just keep on fixing problems.
Sin has a cost. Healing has a cost as well. Why hadn't these people done something previously about the problem? It was just much easier to pretend that part of town didn't exist anymore. So, while they weren't happy about it, they became comfortable with it. The healing Jesus offered took something away from them. You can replace pigs though. You can't replace a missing chunk of your town. But they didn't care.
The cost of healing, the pain of healing, is often a problem we just build up in our minds. And we become so consumed by the fear of how it might feel, or what might happen, that we would rather just not get better. The other day my son asked if he could just keep his band aid on until he was a grown up!
Don't be mistaken, healing will come with a cost. But, it is worth it. The pain we allow ourselves to dwell in is so much greater than the split second of pulling off the band aid. Or getting the shot. Or confessing our sin.
God promises some important things to those on the fence between healing and persisting in pain:
Matthew 11:30 "My yoke is easy and my burden is light"
Jesus tells us, come walk with me. It might look heavy, but I am the one carrying the load. What you are carrying now, by yourself, will grind you down into the dirt. Do you feel like your problems are grinding you down? Lay them off, and walk with Jesus. The act of laying them down might cause your back to hurt...a bit...but then you are free to walk with freedom!
Hebrews 4:15 " For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."
One of the biggest issues we have when facing our own demons is the fear of judgment. There is no lack of love and empathy for you, no matter your struggle. Doesn't it feel good to tell someone your problem and know that they couldn't love you anymore...STILL!! Stop allowing the fear of reactions keep you from embracing Grace. Unmerited and perfect Grace!
Stop being afraid of healing. Even the "pain" of healing is so much easier than the ongoing pain of persistent hurt.
Bacon is so cute!