Monday, March 20, 2017

What We Accept As Normal Is Just Crazy

Imagine we know this guy. But he's got some problems. Everyone is aware of this guy and his problems. And like most guys who have problems, this guy's problems become other people's problems. 

Maybe we didn't care to do anything about this guy when his problems were just his problems, but now that his problems are everyone's problems, we agree something has to be done. 

So we do something. 

We problem solve. We attempt solutions. But let's assume none of our solutions work. As crazy as it sounds, we might stop attempting solutions. 

Really?!?

In the Gospel of Mark, we read about Jesus and His guys coming across just such a scenario.

So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones.
~Mark 5:1-6

The man possessed could not be controlled but still bowed down to Jesus without Jesus even commanding it. The presence of Jesus demands our respect. It is also interesting that this demon begged in the name of God.

So Jesus does His thing and casts out the demons. (That's right, this guy was dealing with multiple demons. Yikes!

I might not even be all that surprised by anything in this story just yet. After all, the people did try to solve this issue. And when things start getting messed up in the spiritual realm, I understand it's going to take Jesus to bring a solution. But towards the end of this story, we get another glimpse into how people respond to Jesus. 

A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid.
~Mark 5:15

They were afraid of a man fully clothed and sane? The demon possession had become their normal. People always prefer what they know, even when it is less than what God intended.

I think this shows that we tend to tolerate what we deem normal, even if it isn’t ideal. If our first response to trouble isn’t to turn to Jesus, then our first response is not our best response. We shouldn’t turn to God after we’ve tried everything else. When a problem arises, why wouldn’t we try the best solution first?

Could you imagine this type of lunacy in any other area of our lives? 
  • If our doctor suggested he wanted to remove our appendix by going through our leg, we'd find a new doctor. 
  • If we knew the fire department in our town was going to form a long line from the location of the fire to the nearest lake, and that they would share a bucket in order to fight the fire, we'd probably find the number of the fire department in the next town over. 
Go ahead and think of any problem you desire. Literally any problem. If your friend comes up with a great solution but then suggests he'd like to attempt other lesser solutions, it might be time to get new friends. 

Yet this is what we do with our lives time after time. We acknowledge that our current situation might not be ideal. Have we done anything to change it? Have we even considered asking God what He might want to change? More than likely we have just come to accept that not everything is going to be awesome in our lives. 

That acceptance might be okay, but if we suddenly find ourselves skeptical about things that we should find normal, then we might want to stop and question what we have become accustomed to. 

Because this story ends with the 'normal' people pleading with Jesus to go away. So, to summarize, a demon possessed man roaming the neighborhood is something we tolerate. But Jesus healing the demon possession isn't. 

So what are you dealing with and what solutions have you looked for?

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