When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’ Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ And he said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. Matthew 8:28-34
Sometimes the positive changes we make in our lives can make people angry, especially when the circumstances are not good but everyone is used to it. " That's just the way they are," we hear and wonder why we keep allowing the sick and dangerous to rule our lives. When we get healthy and strong enough to turn away, the response is rarely positive.
Jesus heals the two who are possessed with demons, men who have been terrorizing their families and neighbors for years. Casting the demons into the swine and the destruction that followed made the people angry with Jesus and told him to go away. They were used to their sickness, it had become a part of them. The loss of the pigs was minor compared to the loss of identity. When God makes us well, we often feel the sting of loss-the familiar illness that defined us. We often have to go, to move on, to be completely renewed and to live into the new whole and healthy person. God invites us today not to look back but to look forward to all the goodness that is before us.
Today, I ask God to help me live in hope and to be forward looking. Nothing can be done for our past, and God holds a wonderful future ahead for us all. May we embrace the new, despite our sense of loss and discomfort and be ready to go!