Today. Was. Awesome.
It started out with taking the daily remedy that the divine Doctor (no, not Doctor Who) prescribed to me. I opened my Bible and began in the book of Mark. In this particular chapter, (chapter 5, to be specific), Jesus is encountering a man possessed by a large number of demons. While this story is well-known, I didn’t grasp the craziness of how Jesus encountered this man until I read it a few times. Check this out:
“And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” (5:2).
He came out of the tombs. We all know what tombs are right? Ya know, where dead people are “stored?” This guy LIVED in the tombs and is coming out of them to meet Jesus. I can imagine this scene, and it looks like something from I Am Legend or from Paranormal Activity or some other frighteningly disturbing horror movie that I can’t watch because I’m a wimp.
“He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones” (5:3-5).
I don’t know about you, but reading this made me shudder and squirm and sort of wonder just how sick and twisted Satan is (but I didn’t dwell on that too much, because I already know well enough). This man, possessed by many demons (in 5:9 he says, upon being asked his name “My name is Legion, for we are many”), which is frightening enough, considering the unpredictability of demonic influence, is incredibly strong, dangerous, and wild.
And Jesus just doesn’t even flinch.
Legion falls down in front of Jesus, acknowledging the fact that He’s the Son of God (5:7). Jesus, unmoved by the reputation that characterizes this man, the obvious lack of conscience he possesses, and how frightening his appearance is (which it would be frightening, since he’s been cutting himself and living in the tombs and mountains…oh, and he’s naked, just to let you know), casts the demons out of him and into a herd of pigs, which then run down a hill and into the sea to drown themselves. Lovely.
Imagine yourself in Jesus’ place. There’s this guy, naked, with fire in his eyes, probably covered in hair, yelling and screaming and more than likely throwing stuff, stalking or maybe even running wildly out of a grouping of tombs towards you. What would you do?
I would be tripping, falling, scrambling, stumbling, running like a maniac into the boat, praying that this guy wouldn’t come anywhere near me. But Jesus doesn’t do that. In fact, Jesus has complete control over the situation. The demons within this man beg Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and He gives them permission. HE GIVES THEM PERMISSION, which means He’s more powerful than Satan’s forces, and therefore more powerful than Satan.
How can we apply this? Well, I’ll tell you. Considering how frightening this appears to me and how normal and expected it appears to Jesus, it’s safe to say Jesus knew what was going to happen; He was totally prepared for it. So, when it comes to other frightening things, things that affect us directly, right now, like finances, deaths, heartache, injuries, sickness, etc., can’t we believe that Jesus is prepared for those as well? Just a thought 🙂
The second part of my devotions involved reading Isaiah chapters 8 and 9. Stepping back for a moment and ignoring the prophecy, I want to take a look at the mechanics of Isaiah. “For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke” (9:18). Wow. Take time to read that through once or twice and savor the beautiful language and imagery that characterizes this book. Without even telling me any prophecies, the Word of God, in itself, is beautiful.
Now we move onto the content 🙂 These two chapters, particularly 8 and the ending of 9, really boggled my mind. I still don’t think I have a good hold on it, but I’m still studying and researching and connecting, so it may take me a few days. When I read passages like these, I sometimes fantasize about being a woman theologian…but then I laugh because I’m too obnoxious to be a theologian 😀
Anyway, chapter 8 describes the interaction between the country of Judah and it’s enemy Assyria. It also (as far as I can tell) describes further Judah’s relationship with God, how, despite His wonder and the miracles He’s performed within the lifetime of their people, they continue to blame Him, ignore Him, and disrespect Him. Sound familiar?
Chapter 9 is really cool! Why? Because this is one of the prophecies concerning Jesus. This chapter contains the familiar song lyrics of:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (9:6). 🙂
The rest of chapter 9 is a little hard to swallow, at least for me. It describes God’s wrath and the frightening things to come upon Israel and the surrounding countries. There are parts of the chapter that read “each devours the flesh of his own arm” (20b), and “for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up” (16). Granted, the first of these lines is describing the evolution of self-seeking into self-destruction, but still, the imagery is heavy, and the meaning is strong.
I know a lot of Christians are afraid of exploring books like Isaiah and Revelation, just because of the crazy images and deep meanings, but don’t be scared off by any of this. This faith is real, and though the Bible contains some intense material, think about what your faith is based off of: the Son of God came down to earth (a supernatural occurrence) in the form of a man, healed tons of people (by the power of God…another supernatural occurrence), died on the cross, allowing Himself to be beaten bloody, tortured, abused, humiliated, and rejected, went to Hell and kicked Satan’s butt (do I have to say it?) and then became physically resurrected, only to go back to heaven.
I’m sorry folks but that’s about as intense and supernatural as we’re gonna get. If you believe this (which you should, because it’s true), then you should have absolutely no problem with taking on the rest of God’s love letter to you. It’s meant for you to read, to study, in order to grow in your faith and grow closer to the One who died for you. So go for it!
After my adventure through devotions, I prepared to go to the Windsor Christmas Tournament. But wait! We have a surprise! Turns out, the Brocks were visiting their grandmother today, who lives a block away from me. So, before I left for the tourney, I walked down to visit all of them. At first I was kind of nervous, only because I’d spent time with them for three days and Grandma only had them for a day: I didn’t want to impose on her while she had them visiting. But the moment I stepped in the house, I remembered that this was my second family, including Grandma and Grandpa, and they all willingly filled the requirements and adopted the qualifications of being a family. I forgot why I was nervous.
Then we were off! An hour or so later, Mom, Gracie, Jimmy, and I arrived in Windsor and were making our way through crowds of wrestlers, wrestling parents, referees, wrestling coaches, scorekeepers, staff, everybody. When we found seats with our team, we took them and kept them, despite how uncomfortable the bleacher seats were.
It was weird: I expected myself to be on fire for the intensity that came with wrestling tournaments, but I found myself feeling really…well…casual. I just didn’t crave the excitement as much as I used to. I spent most of the beginning of the tourney reading The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis, only looking up to watch Dad’s wrestlers when they had matches.
Around lunch time, Gracie, Jimmy, and I walked out of the gymnasium and into the cafeteria. We played three games of Skip-Bo (the most amazing card game ever), ate random cafeteria food, tried a new game we got for Christmas, and talked about random everything. While we were eating our lunches, I was eating an apple. Gracie suddenly started laughing and I couldn’t figure out what was so funny until she began pointing at my nose. I realized I had a huge wet chunk of apple above my nostril. But when I went to wipe it off, the chunk went up my nose.
It was probably one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had with food, besides the time I played musical chairs and the chairs were covered in chocolate syrup, but that’s a different story for a different time.
Eventually, we headed back into the gym and sat with Mom for a while. Gracie and I went for a walk an hour or so later, just to stretch our legs. When we came back, I didn’t realize the floor in front of the bleachers was covered with water. As I walked, confidently, feeling good about my outfit, my social demeanor, feeling comfortable in my own skin, the floor decided to remind me, quite harshly, that I am a klutz. I slipped on the water and did a weird flamingo dance in order to gain my balance again….in front of about sixty to seventy people sitting on the bleachers. I’m pretty sure my face was as red as the neon lights of the scoreboards. But I mean a lot of them were focused on the wrestling, and those who had seen my performance now had a smile on their face. So it’s not that bad 🙂
Our wrestlers didn’t do very well…some of them did great, but most of them just didn’t have their heads in the game. While I don’t want to make excuses, since I am the wrestling coach’s daughter, I can say that wrestling at the Windsor Tourney is kind of crazy: they had this beginning “session” of the tourney where the lowest seated wrestlers went through a series of “pig tail” matches. Basically, it’s sudden death, to get rid of the wrestlers who just aren’t good enough to enter the tourney. It’s the preliminary matches to the preliminary matches. It’s crazy, I know. Also, there are tons of people yelling and whistles blowing, kids running back and forth, referees making calls, the announcers abusing the power of their microphone, and very little air moving. You’re sweating and you’re tired and you have to keep going or else you’re out of the tourney. It’s tough.
Tomorrow is the second day of the tournament, so hopefully they’ll do better then. All we can do as fans, as supporters of Dad and the team, is encourage and cheer on and support our wrestlers. Gracie and Jimmy are staying home tomorrow, so it’ll be just me and Mama heading to Windsor. It’ll be nice for Mom and I to spend some time together.
With New Year’s around the corner and the second semester of my freshman year coming up, I can hardly believe I still have three weeks left of break…it’s like there’s so many great things getting ready to happen that they have to happen soon rather than later. But three weeks will probably go by quickly…so I should, therefore, have as many adventures as possible before starting my second big adventure: The End of Freshman Year.