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Begging Jesus to Leave

This is Day 14 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.

There is a story in the 8th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew that tells of Jesus casting demons out of two men. The demons begged Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of pigs and Jesus agreed. The pigs then ran over a cliff and into the sea. The pig herders ran into the city and told everyone what had happened. The townspeople came out to see Jesus and "begged him to leave their region." (Matthew 8:34).

These people were face to face with the living God in human form and they asked Him to leave. The proper response would have been to fall down and prostrate themselves at His feet. The Bible tells about other times, such as in Samaria, when the townspeople beg Jesus to stay, but this time they begged Him to leave. Why?

The reason they wanted Jesus to leave was that He was bad for business. He just cost them a lot of money by casting demons into pigs causing the pigs to drown themselves in the sea. The people loved their economic prosperity more than the gift of being in the presence of God incarnate.

How many times have I done that? How many times have I turned away from God, or ignored God because I loved something else more than Him. Maybe, like the townspeople in this story, it was my economic prosperity. Maybe I cared more about my pigs than I did about God. Maybe it was a sin that I loved. Maybe He wanted me to do something that I didn't want to do so I told Him to go away. How many times has Jesus come right up to me and was face to face with me and yet I asked Him to leave? Thankfully, despite how badly I treat Him, He always comes back when I need Him.

Today's prayer:

Lord, please don't go away. Even when I want You to, please stay close. You know better than I what I need. And I need You.

R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.

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