20. Circumstances

“Cutting to the Chase” Meditations 20: Circumstances

Mk 5:1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes

We said yesterday that the way we exercise our free will becomes even more important when we come to Jesus and we considered personal interaction, but I also said we choose to let him lead us where he will to encounter the circumstances we will encounter – and they may not always be comfortable, and they may well test our trust in Jesus! Does he really know what he’s doing????? The answer, of course, is always yes but sometimes we have to wait to get to the other side of the experience to be sure of that!

I always feel there is an element of humor in Jesus going across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. The disciples have had a comfortable time just sitting in the background while Jesus taught (Mk 4:1-34) even giving them quality time with him, explaining the parable (v.34), but then evening comes and he quite casually says, “Let us go over to the other side.” (v.35) No reason, no warning. So they get in the boat and Jesus falls asleep. Obviously a relaxing time. Then, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” (v.37) Some of these disciples are fishermen so they know this lake but collectively they are on the edge of panic and wake Jesus. He calms the storm with a word (v.39). Awesome!

So they arrive on the other side (tired & frayed) and are greeted by a raving maniac! (5:1-5) Oh, come on, an uncomfortable, life-threatening night journey and now this guy who also is life-threatening. So Jesus sets him free and they are on their way back across the lake to confront some more healing needs. Hold on, did we cross the lake in a storm to just set free one person??? Looks like it. The other story I like is Philip who had fled the Jerusalem persecution (Acts 8:5) and found himself in the midst of a signs and wonders revival. Great, but a bit later we find, “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (Acts 8:26) What? I’m in the middle of a wonderful ministry!!! To cut a long story short, he saves one man, an Ethiopian on the way home (see Acts 8:27-38). Just one man?

Do you see the similarities: God leads into uncomfortable circumstances to save just one person? Sometimes it seems that the Lord leads us into tough circumstances, and it is there the miracles occur, then the new life comes forth. But isn’t that what Ezekiel’s river did: “where it enters the Dead Sea… the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows.” (Ezek 47:8,9) Where the Spirit flow, life flows. As for the trees on the banks, “Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.” (v.12) We are called to be Spirit-led, life bringers. Yes?  

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