Luke 8:27-33. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time, this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man… A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
Desperation is a road where Jesus isn’t afraid to meet you.
Have you ever been desperate? Have you ever been hopeless? Whether the diagnosis is bad, when rejection repeats itself, when the addiction resurfaces, when it feels like nothing is ever going to change, you can feel trapped. You try to fix things, but nothing changes. The truth is, all of us will face both conditions at some point in our lives. Desperation does not discriminate. There is no economic or educational status that can excuse you, no age at which you are immune, and no skill that can pull you away. The issue is not when it will happen. The issue is who you will turn to.
The demon-possessed man from the town of Gerasene was both hopeless and desperate. His demons had tortured him for years, isolating him from friends, family, and community. His town had dismissed him after trying to fix him and the problems he was causing, chaining him to keep him from scaring the children, and attempting to keep him under control—all which had failed. Then they kept away, viewing him as hopeless and counting him as dead since he had been living in the tombs anyway. Ironically, Jesus encounters this hopeless, desperate man immediately after crossing the lake in a full-blown storm. It seems like Jesus is going from one nightmare to the next. But instead of stepping back, Jesus steps forward. He becomes a part of the demon-possessed man’s story, and he does what nobody else had done—perhaps what nobody else attempted to do.
He encounters this man where he is. He encounters what’s going on inside.
It's often when we reach the end of our self-sufficiency and adequacy when we encounter problems we cannot fix and conditions we cannot control that we become open to Jesus. The demons we’ve been facing have not gone away, either by medication or positive thinking; we need Someone beyond us to encounter us in our desperation and hopelessness, Someone who is not afraid of our side of the lake, Someone who is not listening to what everybody is saying. Jesus frequently visits Desperation Road because he knows that is where he will often find us. It’s there where he introduces us to true hope as he introduces himself.
On Today's Road: How can your hopelessness and desperation be avenues to encounter Jesus beyond just fixing the “problem?” Who have you encountered on Desperation Road who needs to know they are not alone?