Who knows how long he had lived this way? Can you even begin to imagine what it must have been like for him? Have you ever been in that position?
His life was completely out of control. He had no hope. Filled with pain, fear, anger and bitterness, life was totally meaningless. His thoughts were a jumbled mess, and most of the time, he was unable to put a sentence together in his mind, much less speak coherently. And throughout it all, there was the constant barrage of noise coming from the voices in his head.
No one else could hear the voices, but it didn’t make them any less real, because he heard them. Night and day, they whispered and shouted at him, constantly accusing him, telling him what a failure he was. There was no peace. There was no quiet. He couldn’t escape the voices that taunted him constantly.
They were vile and evil, yet he was powerless to fight them, so he tried to escape them by cutting himself, hoping to die, but always, to no avail. Day and night, he howled in pain and outrage, and breaking all restraints that were placed on him, he would run into the wilderness, screaming at his tormentors, which no one else could see.
Family and friends had long since given up on him. He had no one to care about him. He was all alone with his demons, living in a graveyard outside of town. He was what we might call a zombie today. Indeed, he was a dead man walking.
Do you know any walking dead men or women, boys or girls? Do you know any like this man, filled with violence, rage, fear and animosity? Do you know any who suffer as this man did – hearing those tormenting voices constantly attacking him? Do you suffer as this man did? Is there any hope?
Today, doctors use medications to quiet the voices, but those medications often leave you in a fog, with many side-effects, and though the voices are quieted, they are still there… So, what can be done to help people? What can be done to help you or your loved one?
From a distance away, the man saw Someone step out of a boat, and he ran toward Him. Did he somehow recognize that this One could help him? I’ve thought about this, and I can’t imagine why the demons who tormented the man would want to run up to Jesus, because they recognized Him immediately, and they knew what would happen to them if they entered His presence. Therefore, I can only conclude that this poor, desperate man must have felt the fear in his demonic tormentors, or perhaps he somehow knew that this was his one chance, and he made a beeline for Jesus, bowing low before Him…
Fearfully, the demons screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg You, don’t torture me!” (Luke 8:28)
Jesus spoke to this demon, called Legion, for there were many in the man, and commanded the demons to go, casting them into a herd of pigs, who then ran off the side of a cliff, drowning in the lake below. The keepers of the herd, upon seeing this, fled to the nearby village, fearfully telling the villagers what had happened. When they and the villagers returned, they saw the once naked and wretched man fully clothed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, conversing with Him, and they were terribly frightened. In their fear, they begged Jesus to leave them. (Matthew 8:28-34 NLT) (Luke 8:26-39 NLT) (Mark 5:1-20 NLT)
I’ve never understood that. Wouldn’t you think they would have rejoiced to see that poor man restored to sanity? Wouldn’t you think they would be relieved that they no longer had to worry about him attacking them or their loved ones? I would have thought they would have thrown a great celebration, and sought to know the One who had set this captive free…
And yet, that’s not what happened. Just as the people of Israel didn’t want to hear the voice of God or know His ways, so these people rejected His Son. Is it possible that they were afraid He would change their lives? Were they afraid of the sin and the demons He might expose within them?
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s Light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the Light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:18-21 NLT)
What about you, beloved reader? Will you run to Him and let Him set you free? Or will you beg Him to leave, as the villagers in Gadarenes did?
Cheryl A. Showers