Jesus Steers Hope Towards The Mentally Ill
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
Mark 5:5-7, KJV
Turning My Page
Hopeless is a word I hear a lot as I walk through my daily encounters with people. “It’s a hopeless situation.” “Don’t lose hope.” “Don’t get your hopes up.”
Many of us have or are currently feeling hopeless about our, circumstances, loss, desires for a better life, families, and, friends. Like me you may have exhausted all medical avenues without finding relief.
My oldest son is dead. My middle son deals with many of the same painful symptoms his brother wrestled with, and my daughter and husband are constantly battling a known genetic disease. I don’t sleep. I have days in exhaustion, I am tempted to give in to hopelessness. Yet I read in scripture and acknowledge:
When all seems lost Jesus changes everything.
In Mark 5, this poor demon-possessed man in the passage is tortured and hopeless! Maybe his family tried the medical route, maybe they asked the priests to heal him. We know for sure that he was chained repeatedly but broken the chains every time. If you and I saw him today on the street, more than likely, we would give a wide berth and we certainly wouldn’t take a shortcut through the cemetery. He might be medicated and institutionalized.
Jesus drew close enough to the tortured man for the demons to recognize that he was “Jesus, Son of the Most High.” The idea of getting so close to demonic forces that they call me by name is frightening.
Just ask the men who tried, without having a personal relationship with Jesus, to cast out a demon. “And the evil spirit answered and said Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” ( Acts 19:15, KJV). And then the demon proceeded to strip the men naked and beat them.
The more I know Jesus, the more I understand that he has given me his authority, but I honestly, don’t know how to use it yet. It certainly takes being led by the Holy Spirit. Speaking boldly most assuredly takes humility (knowing by whose authority we speak), obedience and discipline. The demons knew that Jesus had the power to destroy them.
Had those who loved the demon-possessed man struggled with wanting to give up? Most definitely. But God, had already planned to cross the grave to rescue this man through his son Jesus Christ. Rather than steering the boat away from the place of the dead and this man among the tombs, Jesus steered the boat towards him.
God steers his people towards the fight, not away from those in need.
I once lay in a hospital ICU with my wrists bound to the bed so that I didn’t hurt myself, but in the year to follow, God steered Christians my way. He showed me scripture that squarely placed my hope in him alone plus nothing. These men and women opened my eyes to his unconditional love, to his redemption, to the promises in scripture, and to the fact that I could live an abundant life praising him. I am unbound because God steered the boat of his love towards the graves, not away from them.
My current circumstances do not have the final word on my life or my family’s lives. Instead, I wait. I cling to hope in Jesus. Heal us? With man this is impossible but nothing can stop God from healing our infirmities. Not even 2,000 demons.
Turning Your Page
When our enemy Satan and his minions see a Christian coming their way, do they tremble in fear? They should if we take the authority passed down to us through Jesus.
Miracles still happen today because the gospel of hope has never been thwarted from reaching its goal.
Christians must wake up every day and see that the world needs hope and that God has given us the authority to offer the truth of the gospel. God provides hope for deliverance, hope out of depression, hope for our marriages, and life to the fullest measure. Jesus came that we can have life and have it abundantly. Like the demoniac, there are so many left to wander life tortured and miserable. Let’s offer the reason for our hope boldly!
Lord, I fear man, and as long as I speak by their authority rather than yours, any effort I make to offer hope will fall flat. Oh, Father, I praise you alone for saving me and ask that you strengthen me to proclaim freedom for the captive and release for the prisoner. Amen