Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Mark 4:35. Awaiting on the other side was a demon possessed man which no one could bind and who roamed the tombs and mountains, crying out and cutting himself. Mark 5: 2-5.
In Numbers, we read the prayer of Moses who said, “Rise up, O Lord! Let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.” Numbers 10:35
I appreciate the image of a God who is ready to defend His most precious creation, mankind. I wonder if, when Jesus told His disciples to get in a boat and go to the other side, He knew that a legion of demons awaited Him. And did Moses, too, expect enemies full of hatred to await the Israelites as they journeyed through the Wilderness? It appears so since He entreated God every time the Lord told them to move. And oddly enough, the only thing that Jesus did on the other side was free the demoniac from bondage before shoving off to the next mission field.
So many times, and especially lately, I have prayed for peace and comfort from not only the storms without, as Julie described, (66 Books, Juliet2912, Feb 22, 2014), but the inner wrestling of my own fleshly soul. I think I am surrendering to Him my concerns by laying them at His feet. The problem is, though, that I have usually started a fight then ran home to Daddy to protect me. Yet here we find that our God and Lord Jesus knowingly marches us into the fray, not shielding us from the battle to come. For me, the picture of God waiting around for the next bad thing to happen in my life so that He can show up right on time, changes to God already on the side of victory just waiting for me to walk through the battle. Now that is an idea I do not readily cherish!
Lloyd Ogilve once said, “It’s our struggle with His uncompromising call to make Him absolute Lord of our lives that causes us to continue to do battle with the anxieties of life.” (The Other Jesus, 1986).
So why do I react with incredulity at the troubles I experience at work, at home, or in relationship with others? Might these situations be occasions for God’s glory to blast open the hardened heart or spread His grace like sweet honey to cover the sins of those whom I would prefer He just plain blast away? As is so often the case, my self-centeredness leaks toxic waste at the end of my prayers. Toxic because I want justice (on others) and not mercy; I want to win to boost my pride; I want to be vindicated of any wrong in my doings to be satisfied in my self-righteousness. Instead, God calls me to the other side not for my comfort, but to watch Him free the demon possessed, and to learn to watch the Holy Spirit, much like the cloud, who says, “Follow me.” Is He calling me when I am whining about misfortune or squirming under authority? Yes, He is calling me to walk toward Him, especially in these times. For then my eyes are on Jesus, and His image is what others will see in me. No matter the outcome of my struggles – in my favor or not – there is no better place to walk than toward Him.