Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Matthew 8:28–9:1 (NRSV)
When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.
This story always troubles me. I find the concept of demon possession extremely disturbing. I have never made it through the movie The Exorcist for that reason. There is something troubling about losing control of my life to such dark forces.
The whole town came to fear these two men who were lost to evil. They were troubled to the point that it had become easier to avoid them. When those who cared for the pigs saw Jesus’ power, they could not help but share the disturbing scene that they had just witnessed. Not only did they see Jesus have a dramatic brush with evil and help them with their demon problem, they saw what could have been a large part of their local economy destroyed. This had to be deeply disturbing.
When the townspeople realized the power that Jesus had, like before with their original problem, they were afraid and chose again to keep their distance. The Bible tells us that God is all-powerful, and that includes power over evil, but we should not respond by pulling away. God has power to help us with our problems. When we see God at work, even when what we see is unexpected and troubling, let us not reject an intentional relationship with God. Let us look for God in the disturbing times, too.
All-powerful God, shake us from our complacency and help us to see where you are moving. Help us not to reject your sometimes-peculiar ways and lead us into meaningful relationship with you.
Go with God.