Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Darned if you do and darned if you don't...Jesus Style

I've been reading through the New Testament in The Message Bible.  I just want to reconnect with who  Jesus is.  Now, I haven't gotten very far; to be real, I'm in Matthew; yes, the first book of the New Testament.  But, have you ever had this moment where you feel like you need to get to know someone again?  Maybe because I've changed a lot over the journey since giving my life to Christ (and have tons more room to grow...), I feel this sense of needing to read through what Jesus said, did, thought, revealed about who God is, and ultimately saved.
So, I come to the beatitudes.  The first one says, "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule" (The Message).  I'm thinking to myself, "How many times a week do I feel at the end of my rope?"  Answer:  many.  Consequently, I come to this passage later on in Matthew:
They landed in the country of the Gadarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery.  The mend had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore.  Seeing Jesus, the madmen screamed out, "What business do you have giving us a hard time?  You're the son of God!  You weren't supposed to show up here yet!"  Off in the distance a herd of pigs was browsing and rooting.  The evil spirits begged Jesus, "If you kick us out of these men, let us live in the pigs."
Jesus said, "Go ahead, but get out of here!"  Crazed, the pigs stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned.  Scared to death, the swineherds bolted.  They told everyone back in town what had happened to the madmen and the pigs.  Those who heard about it were angry about the drowned pigs.  A mob formed and demanded that Jesus get out and not come back.
What the heck??  This town has been living in fear for what I'm assuming had been a very long time, Jesus comes and saves these mens' lives and gets rid of the danger, and everyone is more concerned about the pigs.  Now I'm sure I'm missing some historical importance here, but there's something about this story that seems timeless and so personal.
How many times are we so used to a problem and complaining about it, that it almost becomes "comfortable" to us.  This sort of thing absolutely puts me at the "end of my rope" as stated in the first beatitude.  I find this often in my life as a parent and in education.  It's scary because these are two areas that are so important to children's lives.
In education, we see problems and often the answers are there, but they aren't easy to implement.  It's something that will take time and resources, but more often than not, we go with the "answer" that is easier to do, it's more comfortable, it doesn't require as much as a sacrifice, but in doing so, you end up creating a problem for the problem you just tried to solve.  It's a train wreck.  What if we just went with the true solution?  What if we just tried that and created real change?  Just a thought.  Jesus took (and takes) care of problems if we're willing to let go of some things.  The town was ticked about their loss of the pigs without truly recognizing what just happened:  the demons were gone, people were safe, and the mens' lives were saved.
Parenting is a bit of conundrum too, especially with a tween daughter (LOL).  My sweet daughter has a multitude of tough spots to get through each day, as do most 9 year olds.  Unfortunately, she doesn't always like my answer or solution.  Instead, she would rather sulk with the problem that actually solve it.  UGHHH.  My problem is that I don't have much patience with this sort of thing.  Obviously, God is working on my here.
Ultimately, this sort of thing happens everywhere, and it makes me really excited for the rapture.  Rapture me, Oh God!  It also brings me back to the reminder that this is not our home.  Our home is in heaven with our Father and His Son.  This world is not getting any better although I'm convinced we can change lives while we're here.  Honestly, our lives are changing while we're here, if we are honest with ourselves.
In moments like these, I just want more of Him.  I hunger for His wisdom and clarity.  I feel extremely blessed and these end of the rope moments are a part of daily living...AND this is why we are blessed when we feel this way because we look to Him, rely on Him, want Him because we've got nothin'.
People on this earth are going to be complaining about their pigs.  I pray that through God's power that you and I are doing and can do something to change those hearts.  Sometimes you never know.
Thanks for Your Word, God.  Thanks for Jesus and all that He reveals about Your love, Your glory, and the truth.  We were made for You, not for this world.  Thank You for reminding me of this every day and not letting me be comfortable among this mess.

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