I heard an interesting sermon yesterday. The referenced scripture was Luke 8:22-29. Jesus and His disciples cross the Sea of Galilee. They encounter a storm that scares the disciples, which irks Christ because He asks them, “Where is your faith?” (Just as an aside, my Bible has a note that “The Lord never rebuked anyone for having too much faith” Hmmmm….)
So that part of the story was interesting, but the part that really spoke to me was what happened when they got across the water. Luke 8:26-39 describes the possessed man that they encounter on the shore. He’s naked, homeless, and crazy. The man would break the chains used to bind him. Even his own people don’t want to be around him. He’s in a terrible state.
Until that day on the shore.
He sees Jesus. The demons recognize the Son of God. They get scared. Long story short, Christ casts out the demons (and into some nearby pigs) and the man goes out to tell the region about what Christ had done.
Great story, right?
There’s more to it, I think. That’s an uncomfortable situation to row up to the shore and find, especially for the disciples. Just imagining that scene makes my shoulders tense. Our humanity wants to distance ourselves from that, right? That’s what the people of the man’s village did. They sent him away from them and bound him. He was naked. He couldn’t even pretend to fit in. We shun those who aren’t “normal,” or who are “dirty,” or who can’t fit into our nice, perfect world.
Now, obviously, the man was violent, so perhaps the villagers had a right to banish him to the shore. Maybe that’s what they had to do for protection.
Even still, we don’t want that to be part of our sanitized world.
How often do we do that today? I was dumbfounded when I stumbled into that thought. How often do we avoid the uncomfortable because it doesn’t fit into our sanitized version of the world? How often do we go the long way to avoid that shore? How often do I do what I can to make sure that I don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable situation?
I’m not suggesting that we put ourselves in harm’s way or somehow look for danger. Not at all. But when we’re called to that moment, to that uncomfortable situation, we shouldn’t shrink away because of the fact that we don’t like it. Clearly, this moment was appointed by God for this man. They went through that storm to get to this man. After they got there and Christ set him free, they were told to leave. He was the reason they came.
These last couple years, I have been far too worried about my comfort. I’ve been out of my element in almost every aspect of my life since I moved to Florida. I have a constant knot in my stomach because I’m incredibly uncomfortable. My continuous cry has been for God to make me comfortable again. Put me back where I came from, let me go back to grad school, let me be near my family again. All of these things are well and good, but not God’s will for my life right now. I’m learning that my physical and emotional comfort have little in comparison to the Spiritual comfort of knowing that I’m where God has ordained me to be: a loving wife to a husband called to minister in Florida. If I follow Him, the Holy Spirit will be my Comforter.
Maybe when it’s uncomfortable, it’s because He’s giving us the opportunity to show our faith.