Luke 8:27-37 tells the story of Jesus casting out demons from the man in Gerasenes. A crowd soon heard about the episode and came to see for themselves what had happened. Their response baffles me: “And the whole crowd was afraid…and all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them.”
Interesting, eh? Rather than celebrating the man’s healing and Jesus’ presence in their midst, the people felt afraid and begged Him to leave. Why did they do that? Why didn’t they beg Him to stay and do more miracles? Could it be because they couldn’t understand His power and His ways, and therefore felt uncomfortable in His presence? Could it be because He shook them from the norm, from the thought and life patterns to which they were accustomed, and they didn’t know what to do with that? What a loss.
I feel sad for these people. But I think the same thing still happens today. God knocks on our hearts and extends an invitation to get involved beyond the norm, beyond the ordinary, beyond the accustomed, and fear strikes our hearts. We hesitate and waver, and then tell Him to go away through our unbelief.
“God, forgive us for our unbelief. Replace our fear with faith in who You are. Change us from the inside so You can use us as instruments of change in the world around us. Give us hearts to celebrate Your presence and inexplicable ways. Amen.”