Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 5:18b-19 – The man who had been controlled by the unclean spirits kept begging Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus refused to permit him, but said to him, Go home to your own [family and relatives and friends] and bring back word to them of how much the Lord has done for you, and [how He has] had sympathy for you and mercy on you. (AMPC)
When I was a kid in Idaho's Bitterroot Wilderness, between the Snake and Salmon Rivers, one of the walls of our ranch was the Payette National Forest, with no neighbours nearer than 50 miles. Our front door was exactly in line with the back door at the other end of the house. One day, my father bellowed at me, "Run and open the back door, quick!" As I did so, a herd of wild pigs with sharp tusks, greasy, brown fur, and beady little eyes, stampeded past, right through our living room and kitchen and out the back door in a flurry of sharp hooves. As a scrawny eight-year-old, I could've been trampled.
The only other true story that I know about a herd of pigs occurred in the region of the Gerasenes, nearly 2000 years ago, when Jesus was going about healing. The details are faithfully reported in three of the four gospels. A demon-ridden man who has never known peace, suddenly finds himself gifted with a "right mind" when touched by Christ. Though he begs to come along, Jesus tells him to stay where he is and let everyone know what God has done. Meanwhile, the demons infest a herd of pigs, which rush into the sea and drown.
The pig story was one of many in my past about which I was horribly embarrassed. The passage of wild pigs through anyone else's living room would've been noteworthy for certain, but not in my family. I've always tried to pretend that I had been brought up just like everyone else. Living back in the bush without any guidance, I didn't know what most people take for granted. But my heavenly Father always had my back. When God brought me back to Him, I began to see His hand throughout my life. With my past no longer something to hide, I began writing down what had happened to me.
Someone said to me recently, in a fairly envious tone, "It must be great to have faith when a pandemic breaks out." "Well, yeah, sure," I said. And then, I shared how you get it, since his invitation to share my personal account of God's grace was obvious. Blessings, they say, come to those who notice.
If only all believers might tell their own stories of God's providence and grace, bringing back word of how much the Lord has done for them, and how He has had sympathy for them and mercy on them!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we are so grateful for Your guiding hand throughout our lives, first, how You found us, then, how You grew us up in Yourself, brought us closer, kept us safe, used us in Your service, and allowed us to see Your hand protecting and guiding as we followed along. Help us to share these stories in faith, wherever You lead. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.