Jun 18, 2012

April Story

After we covered one of my favorite heroes in our street Bible study, I found myself talking about him all week. I little expected to meet someone on the street that so reminded me of him!

Empty_tomb_ragged

The hero I describe has no name recorded in the Bible. This man lived alone, withdrawn from everyone. He lived in a way that no one understood and in a place that frightened everyone--in a graveyard. He wore no clothes and was frightening to meet. I'm sure people ignored him and hurried along whenever they had to go to the graveyard. I'm sure they wished he would just go away. Much of this man's condition reminds me of street-dependent youth, but let me continue with the story.

 

Some people had tried to help and protect the man. For his own good, they had tied and bound him. But in some type of rage, he broke his binds and ran away. He couldn't be controlled. So he was left outcast. No men came near him. The man continued to live alone with only the dead as his company.

 

The man had not always been this way. He had been educated, had dressed well, and had once spoken properly. He had once had family, friends, and even a home town. But all this was gone. The man had been overtaken by demons sometime in the past. Perhaps it had only been one at first,  and maybe a second came to torment him. More and more came until they numbered a thousand. They overwhelmed the man will with voices and urges. They made him destructive. They stripped him of everything, at least until the day the demons and the man met Jesus.

 

These demons were cast out by Jesus. They tried to save themselves but Jesus commanded them out of the man and into some pigs. These pigs immediately killed themselves. The Bible doesn't say why, but I believe that the demons were trying to kill their host all along. Why didn't they succeed in killing the man? We don't know for sure, but I believe that the man resisted the demons with great inner strength. I believe that he lived alone in the graveyard to keep from hurting family and friends. I admire his strength so much!

 

When cured, people barely recognized him. The man dressed right and spoke well. The man loved Jesus for His help. This man asked to follow Jesus. In reply, Jesus said, "No. Go back to your family and hometown. Tell them what has happened to you." With those words, I believe Jesus may have named his first apostle. What an honor! What an unexpected outcome!

 

Later that same week, I found myself talking with someone who reminds me of the man in many ways. He is a 20-year old plagued by an anxiety discover. He left his family and friends when his disorder became severe. He is one of the dirtiest kids I know and a loner. As I have gotten to know him, he has confided in me, "I freak out each morning when I wake up. I scream and yell. It's ugly. So instead, I drink to quiet the voices and still the panic attack. It's all I have found that works.” Medicines didn't work for him. Counseling hasn't worked for him.

 

I shared this hero's story. In response he said, "I am so tired of this daily battle. It is so hard to keep going, but I do. I want to be that man. I want to be freed. I want to live again." He is rethinking medical treatment. He is exploring the value of faith. He is looking for a way forward.

 

Easter is a time of resurrection. Jesus is no longer in the tomb! And because of the healing power of Jesus, both the men in this letter can be healed and restored. What a wonderful day it will be! How grateful the young man will be! What a powerful beacon he will be to others. I pray that all those living in isolation and torment will be freed. I admire their strength and courage to continue until that day arrives. May it be soon! Amen.