Sunday, December 16, 2007

Temporary Cures for Permanent Problems




“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.” – Luke 8:29


When I was a little girl we had a black and tan coon hound named Big Boy. He was named after my Dad’s uncle, who’d given him to us. Big Boy was a great dog. My brother and I played with him as much as we did each other. We would dress him up in clothes we’d outgrown, re-fold the loose skin under his chin into pleats, ride him like a pony, and when we rode our bikes, Big Boy would usually follow along behind us.

Big Boy was an outside dog, and we lived in the country. He wasn’t one of these fancy dogs on Science Diet food, or something special. He ate table scraps and whatever he could catch. That didn’t make for the best smelling breath for the old dog! My brother and I decided one day we’d cure his bad breath. We first got an Oreo cookie, ate the center out, filled it with toothpaste and fed it to him. When that didn’t work, we got my mom’s toothbrush (well, we couldn’t use our own!) and brushed his teeth. Big Boy’s breath smelled minty fresh! Of course, he wasn’t too much for hanging around us for a while after that!

Of course it wasn’t long until he was out eating off the land again. We’d found a temporary cure for a permanent problem. As we often do, we sought the quick cure. We cured the symptom instead of the problem.

In Luke 8 Jesus encountered a man who was possessed by demons in the country of the Gadarenes. He had been in their possession for a long time. The Gadarenes had bound the man in shackles and chains. They were looking for the temporary cure. But the demons would break the links of the chains, and the shackles. The people no doubt lived in fear of this man. What if he hurt their children? What if he set fire to their homes? Maybe they didn’t even understand that the man himself was not the problem, but the spirits living within him. Regardless, they sought to cure the symptoms of his destructive nature by further binding him up in shackles and chains.

But when Jesus came, He offered a cure. He wanted to give a permanent solution to a permanent problem. He ordered the demons into a herd of pigs, and they ran off a cliff into the ocean, and the man was freed of the demons.

Let us always be mindful of the permanent cure that is possible through Jesus. We often seek to find a temporary relief from our problems rather than seek the cure. Jesus offers a cure for any and all of our problems. We just have to go to Him in prayer and ask, believing, and receive. We have not, because we ask not.

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