In His Presence

Today’s scripture: Mark 5:1-20 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Melody Merida):

There seems to be a key behavior running through this story of the demon-possessed Gerasene man.

We see the demons begging Jesus to leave them alone and then they beg Him to send them into nearby pigs. Then after Jesus heals the man, the people in the town who saw the transformation were afraid and begged Jesus to leave. They didn’t want anything to do with this miracle worker! And finally, we read about the healed man begging to be allowed to accompany Jesus across the sea. Now that he had been headed he wanted desperately to follow the Savior. There certainly is a whole lot of begging going on! Everybody wants something from Jesus.

You and I are no exception. As I read this I found myself thinking about my own attitude toward Jesus. Certainly I bring my petitions before Jesus, but how else am I interacting with the master healer? Am I like the demons begging Jesus to leave me alone and not interfere with my life? Sometimes I think I know what’s best and when I come to Jesus in prayer I end up begging for validation of my own will, instead of praying for the will of God to be done.

But then sometimes I behave like the people of the nearby town and I beg Jesus to “get out of town”. When I sense that Jesus might have wonderful things in store, if I’m willing to accept change and open myself to the possibility of miraculous events; I get scared and my gut response can be to beg Jesus to just go away and leave things alone because it’s comfortable.

However, it seems that when I’m at my wits end, when everything else has been exhausted, that’s when I fall on my knees and beg Jesus to allow me to just follow after Him, walking in his footsteps. Once the possessed man was healed, he knew how to beg for the right thing. He simply wanted to be present with the Messiah and learn directly from him as a way of saying “thank you” for his miraculous healing. He didn’t beg Jesus to give him money, basic needs, protection, or even grace. Instead, he just begged to have the privilege of remaining in the presence of Jesus. Nothing more.

I must confess that more often than not, I’m like the demons and the townspeople who come with my own agenda. But, oh to be like the man who received healing — coming to beg at the feet of Jesus for nothing but the privilege of remaining with him. It seems so simple but it can be so difficult. May we learn to beg Jesus to allow us to simply be with him.

Thought for the day: For what are you begging? Perhaps we should just fall on our knees before Jesus and ask only to live in his presence.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.