We left our son at the church once.
He was five years old.
He's now fourteen, but he has never forgotten it. Or forgiven us!
We drove all the way to the restaurant, thinking he was with our friends. But when they showed up--no little boy!
We immediately went into panicked-parent mode, dashed out of the restaurant, and broke speed limits getting back to the building which we were certain was now filled with pedophiles, monsters, and kidnappers. (That's what panicked-parent-mode does to otherwise reasonable people.)
We left a our friends and our other children while we went after that little one who had gotten away. When your child needs you, you drop everything to go to his aid.
Mark 5 gives us a touching example of Jesus doing the same thing. Crowds pressed around him everywhere he went. He healed them, preached to them, loved them, but sometimes enough is enough, even for Jesus. So one afternoon, he got in a boat and headed across the lake.
I always assumed he was just getting away for a bit, but a closer reading reveals his purpose. He did everything with a purpose and this time, his sights were set on one of his children who needed him.
The moment his boat touched shore, a demon-possessed man raced from among the tombs where he lived and began screeching hysterically. I can imagine the disciples leaping back into the boat, wondering why Jesus had picked that particular spot to dock. Jesus' reason came vaulting naked over tombstones and stopped short when he saw the Master.
Everyone knew about this crazy man and gave him a wide berth. Sane people had given up on him and left him alone with his nightmare. He wasn't worth the trouble. Yet, Jesus had come all the way across the lake during a fierce storm for this one man.
He knew the problem and what it would take to bring this child home. He cast the demons out and in doing so, earned another lifelong follower.
Then he got back into the boat. Mission accomplished. His whole purpose for that little afternoon sail was to rescue a man everyone else had given up on. He left the thousands in order to go to the one who couldn't come to him.
Do you ever feel like you're the one everyone has given up on? You're the crazy one, the hopeless addict, the perpetual failure. Even the ones closest to you are shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. You know what they're thinking. You've begun to think it yourself: I'm no good. There's no hope for me. Life works for other people, but not me.
It's not true. Everyone has not given up. Jesus knows right where you are and what the problem is. He's coming for you.
The Bible says that after Jesus cast the demons out, the man was in his "right mind." Jesus is the only one who can restore us to our "right minds." Addictions, the world's value system, idolatry, lusts: all of those twist our minds until we can't think straight and we make choices that seem crazy. It takes the touch of the Master's hand to restore us to our right minds..
The man threw himself at Jesus' feet and asked for help. He had no pride, no self-righteousness, no sense of self at all. He was desperate--right where we have to be before Jesus can heal us.
But here's a question: The man had been crazed with demons for quite some time, so why hadn't Jesus crossed that lake before?
I believe that before this time, he wasn't ready. Maybe you're not ready either. You've still got a flicker of pride going, a stubborn belief that you can "lick this thing on your own." So Jesus waits while you self-destruct--until you exhaust your own strength and you're ready to do it His way.
When the night is dark and every voice echoes that you are forgotten, remember the crazy man. Jesus knew where he was and what he needed and he left the clamoring crowds just for one crazy guy that nobody else believed in.
So when you're ready to let go of your own weak efforts to better yourself, when you finally give up your opinions, your attitudes, and every excuse you've hidden behind--throw yourself on his mercy. When you do, you'll see: He's been coming for you all along.