28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Dear God, the end of verse 28 strikes me: “They were so violent that no one could pass that way.” There was a problem in the community’s midst and no one was willing to deal with it. Instead, they all worked around it and just waited for it to go away.
I can easily see myself doing that. The easiest thing to see in my life is homeless people. I run across them all of the time in my work, and they are soooo hard to help. Frankly, it’s intimidating to help them because you know it will require 1.) so much and 2.) so long. There isn’t a quick fix for some people. We have to invest in them, and, unfortunately, I find that I am not often up for the investment.
On the other hand, I saw some people last week make the decision to invest in someone’s life. They found a woman who is seemingly homeless. I say “seemingly” because it is hard to know exactly what the truth is. They brought her to us for dental care, but, between this one couple at one church and other man at another church, they have helped her with food, shelter, and even got her a job. How will it end? When will it end? Where will it end? I don’t know, but I know that I really admire these people because they decided to do what the people in this story wouldn’t do. They went the way that others didn’t want to pass and reached out to help.
Father, first, I pray for this woman and the people who are helping her. Guide her and direct her on her path. Draw her into you. Help her to feel you and your presence. Give her a long-term solution for her life. Second, I pray for the people who are ministering to her. Protect them and give them the strength, wisdom, and discernment they need to be your hands and feet to her. Give them an extra measure of joy this Christmas. And, finally, I pray that you will guide my family and me through each situation we encounter. Give us the courage to “pass that way” so that we might be a source of your love for others. Help me to teach your compassion to my children. Help me to understand what it is you would have me to do at any given moment.