[Lines found somewhere in the Decapolis]
I squint my eyes. The boat’s so far away it’s hard to make it out. Beneath my feet the gravel crunches as I turn my back on my deliverer and walk alone to meet the anger of the pig farmers, the wide- eyed wonder of the crowds, the children’s stares, the whispers, “He was mad once, don’t you know?”, the easing back to everyday affairs. He broke my curse, brought me into the light and now he leaves me in this hostile land a solitary witness. How I wish he’d given me an easier command. (To love can mean to leave, I was to find; to follow can mean to be left behind.)
This is a revised version of a sonnet I wrote quite a few years ago after having heard a sermon on the healing of the demon-posessed man in Mark 5. Although it was only a small part of the sermon, it struck me at the time—the healed man wanting to be with Jesus but being told “No”. Surely, we might be tempted to think, Jesus could have done with a few more keen followers, so it seems rather a shame that someone who desparately wanted to be with him was turned away.
Of course, we can see how it was good for Jesus’ mission to have someone stay in the area telling others about him, but what I wanted to convey in this revised version of my poem was that Jesus didn’t instruct the man to stay merely because it was useful for him: he also did it out of love for this man he’d just healed. He did it because that was what was best for this man.
We are not tools. We are children. God has many reasons for the things he does in your life and in mine and furthering his kingdom purposes is certainly one of them. But it is not the only one. He also does what he does because he loves you, because he loves me, because he is a Father who loves his children.