I really like dogs, man’s best friend and all. But there are a few I could do without, admittedly. Just a few. I’m not even talking about the yappy fur balls that are a perverse progeny of wolverine descent; they have a purpose in that they make some people happy. No, I’m simply referring to the dangerous ones out on the country roads that don’t like cyclists.
Granted, most big back-road hounds will just bark and run, and when I stop and give them treats (which I carry), we make friends with each other. I actually used to go out to see a Great Dane—fell in LOVE with her, and she tried to get in my lap, hilarious!
One winter day, as I was riding without Bob, I was accosted by a particular nasty that decided his property included the road. So I did what my husband had taught me, getting off my bike to put it between me and my enemy. As I began to back up, the dog followed, snarling and barking, indicating he had one thing on his mind—a piece of me. (Unfortunately, another big one had joined him on the other side of the street, so now I had tandem trouble.)
There was only one thing left to do: drop all pretense at dignity and yell at the top of my lungs for help. (Fat chance, since it was January, and windows were closed!)
It probably wasn’t sixty-seconds before a truck came around the bend and stopped, (not that he could do anything else since I was in the middle of the road.) Seeing my plight, and probably hearing my screams, he became my “protector and advocate” as I got back on my bike and somehow rode home, unmolested but visibly shaken.
Thank God for putting good Samaritans in our paths in unlikely places and times!
Interestingly, a similar situation takes place as Jesus “just happens” to show up:
“As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town.”
To begin with, I think that pretty well described most of us,…okay, all of us, whether we realize it not. We need the revelation which is from the book so appropriately called “Revelation”—
“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Most of humanity is running around in a cemetery, chasing after and being chased by ghosts. We may have the most expensive homes and stylish clothes, but inwardly, we’re homeless and naked.
And what’s really tragic?
I think many Christians are stuck in this cemetery, too, in one way or another. Stuck in our religious legalism, or unforgiveness and offenses, or misunderstanding about the true loving embrace of the Father to our wilted hearts.
Thankfully, the story continues:
“As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, ‘Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him…Jesus demanded, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Legion,’ he replied, for he was filled with many demons.”
Obviously, from reading this account, there were Satanic forces involved here. But do you ever wonder why the demons didn’t just make the man run away when the Son of God showed up? I mean, they knew Who they would be up against. (Sometimes, we give them way too much credit…)
Possibly, the poor man had just enough strength left in him to lay down all pretense, and was able to drag himself to the only source left for help.
And he got exactly the help he needed—
“People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane…”
Life brings hardship; that’s a given. My question is, why wait until it’s snapping at your heels and you know you can’t peddle to outrun it?
Or to use Jesus’ example, why live in a cemetery when God provides a palace?
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Luke 8:27-30, 35; Revelation 3:17, Matthew 5:3 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.