It hasn’t been good, pushing myself to follow news that ultimately leaves me in the Slough of Despond, gulping for air. (If you are unfamiliar with the venue, it is detailed in The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan.)
Last night, to waylay the effects of the gloomy articles, I decided I would check out the ground hog situation today. I had planned to drive to an arterial bounded by fields where I have often seen ground hogs. Unlike prairie dogs, who sensibly hibernate through the winter until they receive nature’s all-clear signal, ground hogs quasi-hibernate, emerging at various times to test the readiness of winter’s departure. At 9:30 this morning it was still only 16° and foggy. Forget it. I’m more the prairie dog type.
I skipped the news. I thought of Legion, the Gadarene man chronicled in Luke 8:26-38. He was afflicted with demons and quite miserable. Christ came to the man, and of course apprehended his misery. The Lord sent the demons out of the man and into a herd of swine, who promptly ran maniacally over a cliff and perished. The man was grateful. But the owners of the swine were not grateful; they were rueful over their loss of their pigs. They wanted Christ to depart from their territory because they could perceive Him only as a vessel of misfortune. The grateful man whom Christ delivered from the demons became an evangelist.
I don’t need to keep testing the waters of the Slough of Despond; it’s good to be aware of what’s going on, but not to the point of toxic exposure and unhelpful grief. Lord, give me a heart that is more like Legion’s.
26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.
27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”
29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.
30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.
31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them.
33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
36 They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.
37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.
38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
— New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.