Be Free: Do you need a snack, a job, or a friend?

Regarding Mark 5:1-20 & 1 Kings 19

In scripture, there are two men who isolated themselves. One man was the prophet Elijah. After doing something miraculous for the Lord, he made some wicked enemies. He fled into the woods alone. He isolated himself. He became suicidal and asked the Lord that he might die.

How often do we do this? Often times at the end of a huge “win,” the world crashes down around us. We instinctively hideaway. How often do men and women contemplate suicide at the very prime of their life?

The other man is in the New Testament. Mark and Luke both record the man among the tombs in their gospel. Neither Mark nor Luke tells us his name. This nameless man lived isolated among tombstones, yelling and screaming.  He was unnaturally strong. He was also a cutter--someone who engaged in self-harm.
Many times we struggle with anxiety, and “ghosts” from the past seem to hold us captive. We yell. We scream. We self-harm. We either damage our own bodies by cutting, overeating, neglecty or we cut out from our lives friends, family, and coworkers.

The Lord’s answer to both Elijah and the man among the tombs was the same. He sent a messenger--an angel for Elijah and Christ with His disciples to the man. The angel gave Elijah something to eat. The angel encouraged Elijah to take a nap. Then the Lord revealed Himself to Elijah in a deeply moving spiritual experience. Then He gave Elijah a job to do and provided him with a friend, Elisha.

In the same way, Christ met the man among the tombs with a deeply spiritual experience. Then the man sat at Jesus's feet, clothed and calm. The Lord gave this man a job to do just like the Lord gave Elijah a job. Then He sent him home to be with his family.

Though these two men were very different on the surface, they were both facing a similar struggle with mental illness. They had this in common. The Lord ministered to them both in a variety of ways. Those ways included a snack, a nap, and putting on clothes. Each of the men had a deeply spiritual encounter with the Lord. They both received a job to do. They were both united with friends and family. The Lord did not give up on either of them. The Lord helped the men through their anxiety, depression, and self-harm.

As you do the hard work of healing from past trauma, you must make the decision to run toward the Lord. Bow down to Him. Take a nap if you need to. Eat a snack. Put on a new outfit. Sit in the company of good, godly friends or family. Accept the job God has for you. Most importantly--stop isolating!

I don’t know if you identify more with the let-me-die-Elijah or the man-self-harming-haunted-by-the-past. I don’t know if you follow after God the way Elijah did or if you have only begun to see Jesus like the man among the tombs. What I do know is that the Lord has a job for you to do. The Lord has friends and family prepared for you. Leave your place of isolation and begin your journey to revival thru relationship.

See you at church. Show up to Connect Group. Be free.