- When he heals, they are afraid.
- When he calms the storms, they are afraid.
- When he casts out demons, they are afraid.
The first response is seen clearly after Jesus casts out demons into a herd of swine. Once the people of the town see the man who was once overrun by legions of demons, free and clear, this is their response:
And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.
The people obviously knew that Jesus had powers unlike any they had ever seen. And their fear of that power, led them to push him away. They didn't want to mess with it! Maybe they were afraid he would mess with more of their property. Maybe they were afraid that he was using some power that did not come from God. Maybe they were afraid that they could not classify this event into a nice little category that fit into their system of logic. Whatever the basis of their fear was, it caused them to push Jesus away.
The second response is clearly seen in the story of the bleeding woman. She had been bleeding her whole life. One day while in a crowd, she reached out and grabbed Jesus' cloak. She knew that if she could just touch him she would be healed, and she was right! But the rest of the story is what I am interested in:
And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
This lady was afraid! She was trembling when Jesus asked who had touched her. She knew of His power, and had great fear because of it. But this fear, drew her to the Son. She then bravely comes before him and tells him why she touched his cloak. His response? Your faith has made you well!
Fear did not drive her away from Jesus, but toward him.
To say that I struggle with intimacy with God is probably an understatement. And if I had to guess, I bet most of us do. Honestly, I know the power that God holds in His hands. I know that He is COMPLETELY sovereign over everything. I know what He is capable of, and it scares me sometimes. Sometimes I don't know how He is going to use that power, and so I don't want to mess with it. I want to just keep my distance and not let myself get too involved in that messiness! But in him there is freedom. In him there is healing. In him there is peace. Yes he is powerful, and worthy of reverence, awe, and a godly fear. But God has been challenging me.
What if instead of pushing him away, I reached out towards Him.What if I, with trembling hands, grabbed hold of just a little?
In order to do that I know that I have to deal with some core beliefs about who God is. I need to deal with the fact that my God is good, and gives his children good things. Daily, I need to remind myself of this:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
God was not just good and worthy of praise at the day of our salvation. He didn't just reach down and do that, only to leave us after that. He loves us, and works all things for our good. So I can with confidence, reach out....trembling hands and all.