Summary: We all wrestle with demons, but Jesus never forsakes us. That gives us a story to tell.
"Tell the Story"
Last week I received a message from from a guy named Brian; he had looked me up on Facebook.
I admit that I did not immediately recognize the name, but once I started reading the message, I remembered him quite well.
Brian is now a meteorologist at a
t-v station in Shreveport, Louisiana, but back when I knew him he was a college freshman at Mississippi State, and an intern at the CBS television station where I was a reporter.
This would have been back in 1995.
I remember that Brian and I "hit it off" well as he came along to help me with stories.
But during that time, I was a terribly conflicted young man.
I was lonely, unhappy, and dead inside.
I hated my job; I was disappointed with life, and I knew I was not doing what God had called me to do.
So, this is the reason I was a bit surprised by what Brian wrote:
"Hey Ken!!! You may not remember me.
We worked together at WCBI-TV in Columbus back in the day.
I was thinking about you since they have me reporting along with my main duties as a meteorologist here at my station in Shreveport, Louisiana.
I remember how laid back and 'chill' you were about reporting and I am not...
...I just started having to report along with doing the weather recently, and I remember how good you were at it.
I really struggle with it."
Gee, I never thought I was very good.
My best friend from t-v times--Scott is also a friend on Facebook.
Scott was a bit of a mentor to me.
He now works at a big station in Cleveland, Ohio and can often be seen reporting on CNN.
A number of times, he has told me how much he misses working with me, and tells me that we made a great team.
I'm telling you this because this surprises me.
Again, I hated t-v, and I thought I was about the illest fit for it in the world!!!
Even though we might think people can see through to the way we really feel; we never quite know what is going on inside of others.
Those who seem to be calm and cool on the outside, may be--in reality--"living among the tombs."
Those who appear to "have it all together" and seem happy might just be about ready to collapse.
I had been called to go into the ministry from an early age.
When I was 18 years old I had a born-again experience and was suddenly on fire for God!!!
I continued to plan for the ministry.
But I got off track.
And being "off track" is about the most miserable place one can be.
When I finally followed God's call for my life; I finally remembered what it was like to be happy, at peace, and excited about life!!!
That's just a wee-tiny bit of my story.
What's your story?
Where have you been?
Where were you when Jesus found you?
Because that's what Jesus does, you know?
Jesus seeks us out, like lost sheep.
Jesus searches for us like precious lost coins.
And when Jesus finds us, we are given a choice to fall into His arms.
And when that happens, our story changes forever.
Our lives are transformed and everything becomes new.
Life gains brand new meaning.
Broken-ness becomes wholeness.
Death becomes life.
Misery becomes joy.
Anxiety changes to excitement and peace.
And it continues, as long as we stay on track.
Life with Jesus is a journey, and it's not an easy journey...
...but it would be boring if it were easy.
It would also probably be fruitless if it was easy...
...for we live in a lost and fallen world and there is so much work to be done...
...in our lives and for the lives of others.
And besides, it sure wasn't easy for the Son of God--How could we expect it to be easy for us?
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning, Jesus and His disciples take a boat trip in search of a very lost man.
The boat trip took them to a place which is on the opposite side from their home--Galilee.
It's kind of like "the other side of the tracks."
It's where the "non-Jews" lived.
It was a dirty, unclean place.
It was a dangerous place, and they step into a seemingly life and death situation as they find the man Jesus is looking for.
This man is driven by a legion of demonic forces; it's as if he is hardly even human anymore.
Evil, confusion, and darkness have so consumed this guy's thoughts and life that he no longer knows how to live with other people.
Instead, he lives in tombs, among the dead.