Jesus had just landed on the South East shore of the Sea of Galilee and went into the land of the Gadarenes. The city of Gadara was successful, modern and very beautiful. Their lives were well ordered, quiet and going in the right direction. There was one crazy man who lived in the many limestone caves and tombs that would occasionally ruin their peace—so they stayed away from his “turf”. (Mark 5:1-17)
Verse 17of the account says this, “And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.” The word pray is parakaleo. This is the same word often interpreted as to encourage and even to beg. They were saying in a sense something like this, “PLEASE LEAVE—NOW!!!” Jesus You disturb us. Jesus has been disturbing people ever since. He promises us peace, but we find it once we are disturbed. He is the most disturbing person to have ever walked the earth. His life is still rattling the cages of planet earth and its inhabitants since his appearance on the human stage.
In Luke 4 we see an intriguing exchange between Jesus and the people of His home town, Nazareth. He just spoke in the synagogue on the Sabbath, He took out the scroll of Isaiah and read the first couple of verses we now know as Chapter 61; it was a prophecy about Him, the Christ. In Verse 22 it says they “wondered at his gracious words.” They were all happy, loved His presence, and sensed His power. But Jesus could not leave it there; He hadn’t disturbed anybody yet. So He then said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
He didn’t stop there. Jesus then brought out the account of how God chose a non Jewish widow to help Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Then He relayed the story of Naaman the leper. There were many lepers in Elisha’s day; they were in every community, both Jewish and non Jewish. Leprosy was a sentence of death - it had no cure. But in 2 Kings 5 He chose to heal a non Jew. This really “disturbed” His audience. They went from being awestruck by His “gracious words” to now becoming a frenzied mob that rushed him to the edge of a cliff until God delivered him from the predicament.
Webster’s defines disturb this way: To be stirred; to be moved, to excited from a state of rest or tranquility; Uneasiness and a slight degree of anger in the mind; To move from any regular course or operation; to interrupt regular order.
Does that sound like your life?
Often our Christian life takes twists and turns that we would never have dreamed of. The loss of a loved one, the loss of security, the confusion of God’s silence, the ending of relationships that were dear to us. It all disturbs us. It interrupts our plan and our life map.
The nest was disturbed. What I thought I knew I didn’t; what I thought would never change has. The strongest of my man-made foundations are rattled and destroyed because Jesus saw it fit to disturb it. What I thought God had intended for me, doesn’t materialize. Where I thought I would be by now in certain areas of my life has not happened. I am disturbed. Maybe I get a doctor’s report that I was not expecting; wow, disturbed. What is God doing? Why is He doing it? What good is there in it?Disturbed.
OUR SELF LIFE IS DISTURBED
The Christian’s biggest enemy is not the devil; it is self. Jesus has no mercy on our self life. He knows to the measure we serve self, we will not serve Him; to the measure we worship self, we will not be worshipping Him; to the measure we look to self to meet our needs, He cannot meet our needs; as we look to self for fulfillment, He can never fulfill us. Jesus does not want to compete with the temporal and the powerless self.
Self is always telling me what I need, what enjoyment is, what fun is, even if it flies into the face of Christ and His Word. We often make a statement through our lifestyle that says, “No Jesus, you will not be the controlling force in my life; I will not let you.” We give the Lord theHAND, we tell him in essence, “not now, do not bother me; I want to control my own life.” Our own self deception does not like us to define it that way - so honestly and bluntly - yet that is what we have done. But Jesus doesn’t go away; He doesn’t leave us alone - He disturbs us. He disturbs us first on the inside. We often have a subtle or not so subtle rumbling in our souls that relentlessly nags us. We are disturbed. Then on the outside - things start getting rattled; that what can be shaken begins to be shaken. The things we think we need begin to shift; our folly becomes clear. Jesus is disturbing us.
Relationships will be disturbed. Finances will be disturbed. Marriages will be disturbed.
Minds and emotions will be disturbed.
The people of the village of Gadara found themselves face to face with the son of God. They witnessed His power and authority and they begged Him to leave. He had disturbed their quiet life with self. They wanted their peace, so they drove the God of peace out of their territory. That city by the way was destroyed by the Romans about 40 years later. It is now a Muslim village.
WHY DOES GOD HAVE TO DISTURB US?
Without being disturbed we will work under the influence of the world system. Being disturbedbrings us back to our original purpose! We align ourselves again with the things that I should be aligned with. Peace, purpose and meaning can only come from one place, and we will consistently be disturbed until we find it. Jesus is always beckoning us to a higher life, with higher values, ethics, and priorities. He will disturb us into a real relationship with Him. Not a religious relationship but a real relationship.
When He truly disturbs us the change is real and lasting, not temporary. He knows when the change is transitory - even manipulative - to convince another, to convince ourselves or even to convince God! No, He cannot be deceived; He will keep disturbing us until the change is real.
Are you disturbed? Do not let His disturbing cause you to lose heart. God is aware of you and your current situation. He is not done with you; there is a plan that the love of God has for you and the wisdom of God authored to bring out the very best in your life. Though the process of being disturbed is mostly at the very least uncomfortable and often downright painful, its result is transformation.
Consider the deep promise of this verse; Ephesians 3:20 (KJV) “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” This verse is promising an inward work, not an outward work. It is promising inward blessings, not outward blessings! This is the work and goal of His disturbance in our lives.
There will be things removed from your soul that had to go once He is done. There will be precious things worked into your life when He is finished. These new internal treasures would never be yours if you were not disturbed.
Disturbing often comes before promotion. Before He can use us in ministry at a new intensity, we often need things disturbed in us to get them out of us. God is always beckoning us to a higher level. It is never the interruption of being disturbed; it is the fruit that is left in our souls when it is over. Jesus loves us; He will do what he must do to bring us into a deeper relationship and level of intimacy with Himself.