Friday, August 8, 2014

Excitement in the boat, part 18: Staying in the Boat

And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:27 NASB)

So that we are clear on this, the demon-possessed man was not living in the kind of pastoral, garden cemetery to which we are accustomed in the rural South. This was an area of above-ground tombs consisting of pale stone boxes filled with bones. Spaced fairly close together, there was no grass, landscaping, or trees to soften the impact of the boxes of bones. It was a bleak and somewhat barren place. 

Now that you have the scenery in mind, consider the first part of this verse. When He (Jesus) came out of the boat and onto the land, He (Jesus) was met by the demon-possessed man.  Where were the disciples?  It appears that they were still in the boat!  They made the voyage, survived the storm, arrived at the destination, and missed the point of the whole journey. 

Why?? It is hard to imagine why they would endure all they had endured only to skip the best part. Perhaps they were uncomfortable with the cemetery or afraid of the wild man. Maybe they were simply worn out from the trip. There is no indication of why they stayed in the boat, but it appears they did.  How tragic to make the journey yet miss the exciting ending!

Friends, it is far too common and far too easy to be sidelined by fear and fatigue. When God calls us to something, He will carry us all the way through. We must not fail to complete that which Christ has laid out for us. 

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. (1 Corinthians 9:24 NASB)

There is no chance of the prize if we fail to finish the race, and what a tragedy to miss it!  Are you tempted to take the safe way and stay in the boat? As the disciples had already learned, the boat was not safe. The only safe place was with Jesus. 

The only safe place is with Jesus, and the only prize is at the end of the race. We must endure to the end. 

Prsy that we and our loved ones will persevere in faithfulness despite fear, discomfort, or weariness. Pray for a willingness to endure to the end. 
We are still praying for Hamas this week, as well as for the peace of Israel. One thing I'm praying for the leaders of Hamas is not only conviction and transformation but weariness in fighting and a desire to do good rather than further destruction.