Fullness of Joy

Fullness of Joy

In the story of Demons being cast into Swine, Mark 5:1-20, the people were so afraid of what it would mean to have Jesus around, they begged Him to leave. Their only concern was for themselves. They were more concerned about what losing their possessions (the swine) would mean to their livelihood. They did not care that this man was healed and able to return to society. They had just witnessed a miracle. Despite that, they could not see Jesus for who He was.

I remember when my older son was about five. When someone would give him a gift wrapped in a shirt box, he would set it aside and refuse to open it. He was not interested in receiving clothes and would not bother to see if something else could be in there. He could have been putting a miracle aside and did not care. To him, the box meant something he did not want. These people remind me of that time in Ricc’s life. They rejected the miracle and the miracle maker for what they assumed would be the result if He stayed with them.

When my recovery journey began, I embarked on a search for the God I had forsaken years before. I found him and held him at bay for 12 years. I was afraid of what I might lose to fully give myself to Him. I continued to compromise myself in search of complete healing and happiness. I told Him what I would and would not accept. In the story of the swine, Jesus gave the people what they wanted. He left, but not before telling the man he healed to stay and tell everyone all that had happened.

“However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.” Mark 5:19‭-‬20.

Eventually, I crashed and burned in my own wisdom, realizing that the happiness I sought would never be found with me in control. I now understood what it meant to turn my life and will over to God. In the process, I learned I needed Jesus to take the wheel. And in giving up that control I found happiness was not what I longed for. It was the eternal joy of the Lord that I wanted.

The saved man was grateful, and he knew instantly that Jesus was the reason for his rescue from the demons.,. He wanted to get in Jesus’ boat and go with Him, to remain in His presence. Yet when told no, he obeyed. Jesus commanded the man. “And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.” Mark 5:19-20.

At first glance, I ask why didn’t He let the healed man come with Him? Jesus said no because that was not His purpose for saving this person. The man did as he was told, and all marveled. Imagine how many seeds were planted or lives saved because this one man obeyed.

In Luke 10:20, Jesus said to his disciples, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Jesus told the disciples this when the seventy returned “with joy” because while they preached to the people that the kingdom of God was near, the demons were subject to them in His name. He wanted his elect to know that their joy should not come from commanding demons, but in knowing they will be with Him in heaven for eternity.

Jesus did not come here simply to heal people’s physical problems. We all know his primary purpose was to heal them spiritually and bring them to the truth of salvation. He also came to be a servant, obeying His Father.

I had worked for a particular person for years. The job was only a few hours a week, but I had gotten to the point where I dreaded going there. This beautiful woman of God was driving me crazy. She had hired me to help her rewrite her book. Ten years later, we were still “working on it.” There were so many other things she would want my help with each week that before we knew it, our time was up and the manuscript remained untouched. On the rare occasion we would work on editing, she would not take any of my suggestions. My patience waned, frustration was great. I found myself arguing with her. I wanted her to follow my direction with her book. 

Fortunately, my conscience grabbed me. The book was her creation, and I had been hired to help. I needed to submit to what we did each week and what she chose to accept from my edits. I knew I had to go to her and apologize and submit to her. So, I did. I also suggested we pray before we began our work each week. The day I did that was the first time I felt the Joy of the Lord. I am sure it is because I put myself aside and obeyed Him.

In the Gospel of Mark, we see many examples of Jesus as the obedient Servant of God, who came as a compassionate man to walk with hurting people. In Mark 10: 44 – 45, he tells the apostles, “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” He did not come just to heal the physical, but to show us the way to spiritual health. 

May we all follow His example and the example of the demon possessed man. Just obey. We will probably end up planting many seeds. 

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11

I pray we all find the fullness of joy in the presence of our blessed Abba for all eternity.

Janice S.