Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…
Remember this story, “26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29 for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” Luke 8:26-33
Story after story in Scripture, Jesus is confronted by demon possessed crazy people, and they recognize Jesus for who He is (more so than the disciples) and He calms them down, casts out the demons, and eliminates the damage path. Crazy people in society are like tornado’s, they can be ranked based on their damage path. Often enough, their warning signs are like watching the weather on a stormy evening. The meteorologist is pointing out wall clouds, hook echos, and inflows; all the while predicting the imminent fall of a twister. Although, twisters can be predicted fairly accurately nowadays, their size and speed cannot. Meaning, the weather man can predict the tornado will fall in your county, but he can’t tell if it will be a EF-2 or a EF-5 yet. The close family of crazy people are like that. We can predict that irrational behavior is about to happen, but just not to what degree. In other words, none of us know for sure how bad the damage path will be.
What these stories in Scripture don’t tell us is the ‘aftermath’. We can rest assured that the crazy person is free of the demon, but we don’t know what kind of bridges were burned prior to his encounter with the Living God. How was he treated when he filled out a job application and had to write ‘tombs’ under “Former Residence” and ‘demon possessed’ under “Former Occupation”? How has his family been treated since he left to live in the ‘tombs’ and are they really happy to see him return? How does the local law enforcement feel about this guy returning to society because he is now ‘healed’? I wonder what the old men at the coffee shops thought about this whole situation? Jesus didn’t ask permission. didn’t call a town meeting and put social services and law enforcement on alert, didn’t give assurances or warnings…He just acted…and then left.
That’s really the rub. He left. He didn’t coordinate events after the miracle. He moved on and let the people sort it out. I believe Jesus did this, and still does this, on purpose. Meaning that He didn’t leave a ‘script’ for us to follow after every situation. He did leave us His Spirit to guide us in all situations. The Spirit knows us, and the crazy people in our life, way better than we ever can. His guidance will be specific to the situation, not scripted for generalities. The advice, guidance, and direction we receive (if we are actively listening) will always be rooted in this thing we call ‘LOVE’. Now…I know we use this word all the time, but our understanding of this word is heavily influenced by our culture, politics, age, and our level, or maturity, of faith. The Spirit knows this, and is still able to guide us as long as we are listening (listening to God is really about our ‘desire to listen’…if we have a desire, and can remove ourselves from the constant noise of our culture, God will make it happen). The guidance we receive, rooted in love, may look very different than the ‘leading’ others receive in similar circumstances. That’s okay, remember, there isn’t a script. One family may show their love by living with the crazy person and turning their life upside down with violence, drugs, strife, etc. Another family may restrict the crazy person from the house to keep that mess elsewhere. My belief is that either of these are okay if the question has been prayed and the answer has been heard. All decisions made without prayer are flawed.
I struggle with the crazy people in my life. I want to ‘cast out’ their illness, their depression, their crazy. But I have been unable. Instead I pray for them to receive the grace that God is surely pouring out. I know the clouds are gathering, I know the twister is going to fall, I am just try to limit the damage path as much as I can. Like a tornado rolling through empty pasture, my hopes and prayers are that the crazy people limit their damage path to the areas built to receive such things. Some may question whether this is actually love….that’s okay….I question God all the time about it, and this is still the direction I receive.