I know what it’s like. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I was gone. I was so far away from God, that I didn’t know if there was any hope of finding my way back. I had completely lost control. I was in a constant struggle against Satan, and I was outnumbered because I tried to handle it myself. But by the time I realized I wasn’t strong enough, it was far too late.
Before I knew it, I was having fits of blind rage. I ended up hurting the ones I loved the most, and I had no memory of it. I had lost all control over my actions. I couldn’t think straight, I did things to completely defame myself and my family. It wasn’t long before I had lost complete control over everything. My life just crumbled apart beneath my feet, and I fell down into what seemed like a bottomless pit of depression, rage, hostility, aggressiveness, and complete antisocial behavior. They had no choice but to banish me from the city. I was unclean. I was dangerous. I was possessed.
By that time, all control had been seized by the demons inside of me. I wasn’t really I that got cast out of the city, but rather the vile creature that was inhabiting my body. It was controlling my every thought and action. It made me do things that are completely unexplainable. The townspeople tried to restrain me with ropes and chains, but somehow I would always burst free and run out into the wilderness, hurting anyone or anything that got in my way.
Eventually, they stopped trying to lock me up and just let me loose inside a cemetery. I was dead to them. I was living where they thought I belonged. My persona had even given up trying to fight its way to the forefront so that I could be normal for a few moments. I had lost myself. I was dead. The only thing keeping me alive was whatever had come inside me. It was a miserable existence.
If you could see me then, you would not recognize me as the man standing in front of you today. While living in the tombs, I would unashamedly run around naked, yelling at and harassing anyone who came near. Then one day, I heard some people passing by, so I went out to yell at them. But these were no ordinary passers-by. The sight of the one leading the other men sent a sense of fear and dread down my spine, which was strange for I had not feared another man since I had become possessed. This man was different. I didn’t know him, but the things living inside me sure did.
I ran out to meet him, fell down before him, and in dread I cried out, “What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?! I beg you not to torment me!”
I could sense some sort of power in this man, Jesus, such as I had never known before. He had even more power than the devils inside of me, and before I knew it he was speaking authoritatively to them. I could begin to feel a release on my body, as if a great weight were being lifted from my weary shoulders. All the while those demons, which called themselves “Legion”, were fighting and pulling and twisting, pleading with Jesus for him to send them into the herd of pigs up on the hill.
And then it happened: I was free. I fell to the ground in exhaustion, feeling as if I had been held under water for too long and now could finally gasp in some air. I looked up to see the entire herd of pigs turn and run off the cliffs and into the sea.
I couldn’t believe it. Jesus had given me my life back. He had removed those demons from my life which had ruined me and led me to end up in a graveyard for the rest of my pitiful life. That was the greatest single moment I had ever experienced. Jesus had saved me from the fiery pits of hell.
By the time I had become fully awake and conscious again, the owners of the pigs were bringing what seemed like the entire village with them to talk with Jesus. I thought they were going to thank him and give him the appreciation and honor he deserved, but instead they pleaded fearfully with him to leave. He didn’t try to argue with them, as I felt he should have. He simply ordered those with him to prepare the boats for the return trip across the Galilean Sea.
Before he left, I pleaded with him to let me come with them. I dreaded having to face my friends and family again. I just wanted to leave, to start over, to spread the good news about Jesus to those whom I would meet along the way. I wanted to be fully devoted to Jesus, but I just could not face those back home. I could not face my past. I could not own up to the things I had done and the relationships I had destroyed because of what happened to me. I just wanted to leave.
But Jesus told me to go back home and proclaim the things he had done for me. Let me tell you, that was the hardest thing I ever did. I got looks of fear, hatred, and disgust. Some were confused to see me fully clothed and acting calmly. As I walked down the street back home, I could hear people whispering, “Psycho,” “Crazy,” “Freak,” “Whacko.” I felt the skeptical stares as I walked past, but I tried my hardest not to let these things pull me down again. I was better than that. Jesus had made me better. He had given me a new life, a fresh start, a new name. I now had the courage to face my past and shape my future around the kingdom of God.
These are the great things God has done for me: He had given me a new life and a second chance. I have found true love, mercy, and forgiveness. I have rebuilt relationships which are stronger than ever. I take nothing for granted, especially a proper shelter, a warm meal, and a nice set of clothes. I am not judgmental, legalistic, or overly concerned with “normal” worries of this world. I know God is able to provide for me. I love, I forgive, and I attempt to change lives through the power of God.
So what has God done for me? Everything.
What has he done for you?