This is the question that I have been asking myself after reading the following biblical story.
When he [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
When I first read this, I felt angry at the town people for wanting Jesus to leave. But then I later asked myself,
How would I feel if those pigs were mine?
And by the way, Mark’s gospel tells us that there were 2,000 pigs that were drowned in the lake!
So how would I feel? And how would you feel if they were your pigs?
Would I be angry at Jesus? And would you?
Would I accept it?
Would I accept losing 2000 pigs???
I wonder how much pigs are worth today.
Well my acceptance of what happened would depend on my relationship and my knowledge of Jesus, wouldn’t it? That Jesus would somehow reimburse me, and that things would work out. Ultimately, that He has a good plan for me.
But in the story, it doesn’t appear that Jesus made any effort to apologize or to reimburse the owners, whoever they were.
You know sometimes that’s the way things happen isn’t it. God takes things away from us and doesn’t say anything about it. Or maybe He has said something. Yes, it seems to me that He has told us that if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness that all the things we need will be given to us. (in Matthew 6:33).
Maybe you are say…
I don’t have pigs, and I will never have pigs. So how does this story apply to me?
Well, you may not have pigs, but you have other thing that God may want to take away—for His good purposes. Yes, Jesus sent the demons into the pigs to drown for a purpose—for His good purpose. And if there was a purpose in what He did in that particular story, then whatever He does in your life, even if it is tragic, there will be a purpose for it, a good purpose.
God may choose to take away your…
Or your Job,
Or your house,
Or even your children and family.
Or all of it!!
If God took one or all of these things away from you how would you feel? What would you do?
You may be thinking, God would never do that because He is good.
Oh really. Well, He did it to Job.
Yes, through Satan, God tragically took everything away from him, even his health.
And why did He do that? He did it for a very good purpose, to prove to Satan—and to all of us—that Job would be loyal to Him. And in the end God restored all of what Job had and more (Job 42:12-17).
Well, I am still asking myself, that question: What if those pigs were mine? I hope I will never be angry at God for whatever He decides to do in my life that may be painful. I want to be able to trust Him always, in every circumstance. For His purposes in the world, that include me, will always be good.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28-29.
Good (and sobering) thoughts, Stephen. Instead of calling this devotional “When Pigs Fly” this one could be nicknamed “When Pigs Drown”. Job was an extraordinary believer, so say the least — and he lived during an exciting chapter of Earth’s history (see http://www.icr.org/article/jobs-icy-vocabulary ). Amazingly, as part of his trials the devil was allowed to remove not only Job’s material wealth (livestock, etc.) and his children (i.e., his 7 sons and 3 daughters), the devil was also allowed to ruin Job’s physical health and his reputation in the community. Strategically, the devil did not take away Job’s wife — and she tempted Job to curse God. Yet, in the end of Job’s trials he was given double what he formerly had (see Job 42:10). Thus his livestock was doubled, his reputation was doubled, and he was given 10 more children. But how was his family doubled? Since his children were believers, he had not fully “lost” them, so (after his trials) he ended up with a total of 20 children (because He never fully lost the older 10 children who died). Since the devil never took away Job’s wife, Job never remarried. Obviously, Job is a role model to us all (see 1st Peter 4:19 & James 5:11). When we question God about the loss of temporal blessings we show that we are too addicted to temporal blessings (and that we love them more than the Giver of those blessings) — and we need to remember that God doe snot intend to give us the “best of all possible worlds” in this temporal life (http://www.icr.org/article/human-suffering-why-this-isnt-best ).
Thank you for taking the time comment.
I love this, Stephen! I hadn’t thought before about what I would have thought or felt if those were my pigs. Very nicely done.
Very good question Stephen. I had a similar thought about the Jews too when Jesus said John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
What would I do, if anyone comes to me and says these words? Would could I count him as a heretic and throw him out if I possess any authority?
Then the Lord showed me one thing. It is only by His grace we accept Jesus Christ. Today that we understand, by His grace, what John 6: 53 really means, we are so glad to eat His flesh and drink His blood so that we might have life in Him. \
God bless you for this post.
I love the perspective and reflection of the perfect will of God, demonstrated through His Son. Thanks Stephen!