Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my herd of pigs. No, I haven’t taken my Do-It-Yourself heart to a new extreme. The neighbors can thankfully attest that there are no squealing stinkers in residence out back. But I’ve got quite the herd, I realized this morning as I read Matthew 8:23-34. Jesus had just conquered a massive storm to cross the lake. He was so wiped out he slept through it all until his disciples shouted him awake, in fear for their lives. He wondered why they were so afraid. Where was their faith?
And with a word from Him, the wind and sea went calm. As he disembarked, two men possessed by demons so strong that chains couldn’t bind them (hmmmm. . .wonder if they had anything to do with that little squall on the way?) met him at the shoreline. Jesus ordered the demons to leave the men, but gave them permission to enter a large herd of pigs away yonder. The entire herd stampeded down the hillside into the lake, drowning itself. All the townspeople rushed out to see Jesus, “but they begged him to go away and leave them alone” Matthew 8:34b.
See, those pigs were probably the livelihood of an entire town. 401K plan, checking account, Costco membership, you name it, they were it. Two men were set free from their former lives of misery and terrorizing the region, but the people were thinking about their pigs, so they couldn’t see the wonder of Jesus.
We met with three realtors in the last week. Received enough recommendations for new paint, new carpet, staging, and de-cluttering to leave me mourning on the shore for several days. The stained glass window my mother-in-law made for our bedroom. The gardens we’ve been cultivating for years. One bedroom per child and enough quiet to nap in luxuriantly on Sundays. Kitchen cabinets that Matt painstakingly refinished. The salary that’s been such a blessing for 14 years. I’ve been tempted to ask Jesus to go away and leave me alone. I was so busy looking at the overwhelming task list and cute curly tails, that I’ve been missing the wonder of Jesus.
Why am I so afraid? Where is my faith? There isn’t a single word to calm this storm in my heart, but rather an invitation to a constant conversation that will speak peace over the wind and waves of each moment. I still like my herd of pigs, but I’m asking the Lord again to change my heart to want what He wants for me. I want to see the wonder of Jesus in little hearts blooming at the Home of Life, in team members embracing new intimacy in their walk with the Lord. I want to see myself standing on the shore hand in hand with Jesus, set free.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men
28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes,[a] two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area.
29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”
32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
pigs are overrated…… it sounds liberating to let them be gone, although anticipatory separation anxiety is natural…….. but a Martin Luther hymn comes to mind:
The Word they still shall let remain nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife,
Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won;
The kingdom ours remaineth.
wishing you all the best, and may God grant you courage to take on the mission that He is equipping you for. My prayers go with you.
You are so right, Ken. And your friendship is a great example of the kind of blessings the Lord has for us as we step out in this calling.
I love your heart and your honesty, Kris. Praying for you and your herd of piggies. 🙂 Don’t be too hard on yourself; God never said that the shifts and changes He asks us to make will be easy. I’m sure some of Jesus’ disciples had anxiety about leaving it all behind and following Him too. 🙂
Thank you, Jen. Faith makes all things possible, but not easy, right? 🙂
Keep responding on paper with the impressions the Holy Spirit inspires you with — your messages are awesome! I am always impressed with your writing skills because you “get it!” Being simple is difficult but extremely rewarding to the author and the reader. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much, Mike. That’s quite a compliment, coming from you.
love what you said about the townspeople thinking about the pigs. they just wanted everything to stay the same. change can be frightening but when it’s god doing the changing, it will be good in the long run. you know, i realized years ago that i love change – i really do – i love turning the calendar page (literally!) – love moving furniture & cupboards around. i even love it when someone else changes things – as long as i agree with the change. but change something that i have no warning of? change something that i love just the way it is? ha! brings me to my knees. but it’s then that i have no other choice but to trust HIM. the pain sometimes seems unbearable. really. but knowing he loves me makes all the difference.
Exactly, Pam. Thanks for understanding and walking with us through the biggies.
I so love your heart, Kris! You words encourage me to keep my eyes in the right place. I sometimes lose sight of what is really important. I don’t want to miss the “important” God is showing me because I’m distracted by the details of my well thought out life. Learning complete dependence on the Lord is a lifelong lesson. Thanks for sharing your very normal feelings with all of us! You are a blessing!
It’s totally mutual, Sharon. Your family is all dear to us. It is precious to me when my sharing can be a blessing because I get encouragement from so many others’ journeys, yours included.