15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
He does amazing things every day, all of the time. In Mark 5, Jesus casts out a legion of demons from a man known by all to be beyond help or hope. Nothing can bind him. He could break the irons that held him. Verse 4 tell us that “no one was strong enough to subdue him.” He spent his time inflicting pain on himself and crying out, a complete outcast left to die.
Jesus enters the picture, casts out a legion of demons from him and now the man is dressed and in his right mind. So what happens? Do the townspeople come to Jesus, seeking to know HIm and the source of His power and freedom? Do they commit to follow Him and learn more about him? No, “they were afraid” and ” began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” So He did.
Do we do that same thing now with Him? Knowing that EVERYTHING is possible with God (Mark 9:23), paired with the fact that He is perfectly good and only wants our best, do we draw near to Him or run away? He welcomes us to stay close to Him and experience a one-on-one relationship that fulfills our deepest longing. Let’s not give in to fear and push HIm away just because we don’t completely understand Him. We can draw near, and ask for wisdom, mercy and understanding. I Cor 2: 11-12 says 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
God’s presence is a scary place to remain for us, as finite, vulnerable and needy people. It reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote from the Narnia series, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. “‘Is he quite safe,'” one character asks. And the reply is “‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”
Since God is good, perfectly good, never once making a selfish or evil choice, we have a decision to make. Trust or flee. Do we see His goodness and trust that He loves us, wants our best, and will be in every situation we face for our good? Or do we ask Him to leave, push HIm away, and opt for our illusion of safety and control? It doesn’t work to only trust God when you like your circumstances. Trust me, I’ve tried it. We live in a fallen world where people are broken, the creation is tainted and we all know bad things happen all of the time, often to “good people.” We want a promise that trusting God means a happy, enjoyable life without difficulty. If God is good, then He will keep me from pain and sadness, we think. We equate safety with complete absence of pain or sorrow.
But I don’t see that God promises that in this life. In Heaven, yes, we know there will be no more sadness or pain. In Revelation 21:4 John sees a new heaven and a new earth and assures us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” I wish that were now like everyone else. But, it’s a reality the children of God can know will happen one day.
Reality now is that God is with us through all we face, always working for His good, which is our good, and His glory. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God meets us in our difficulty. He holds our hand through grief and pain. He strengthens us in difficulty. He tends to our wounds and encourages us to endure in suffering. He is with us in all we go through and working His will with our best in mind.
When we see the power of the Almighty God, we can stay near Him. We can ask Him for understanding, wisdom and help. It’s often our reflex to run or push Him away in fear, but we miss out when we do so. James 4:8 promises you can “Come near to God and he will come near to you.“