Neuroscientists differ about how many thoughts pass through our brains each day. Whatever the number actually is, it’s larger than we realize. Our tens of thousands of daily ideas include info fit for trivia nights, “what ifs,” unanswerable questions, things we never want to forget, and hurts we can’t erase. Their quantity can take our breath away, stir inner chaos, entertain, divert, and leave us feeling scattered. According to research, being pulled in a thousand directions can occur in 30 minutes.
So as we sit in the boat with the disciples, watching this uncontrollable man running towards Jesus, our minds fill with questions and fears. How much worse will this situation get? Where could we hide? What could ensure our survival? No one had the strength to subdue him (v. 4). If countless thoughts are running through our minds, even more must be running through his. But Jesus is already at work in this situation. The man races to Jesus, then bows down before him (v. 6). Surely this image of an unrestrained outcast bowing before the Prince of Peace is as powerful a sight as the fear-inducing one.
Maybe it’s tempting, if we’ve never witnessed drama like this, to consider Mark’s ancient story to be far removed from our own. But we draw closer to its truth when we remember those times when life felt out of control, when pain seemed too heavy, when it felt to us (and perhaps to others) that we were becoming the worst version of ourselves. When we bring life’s hard realities to the story, we realize that Mark’s picture of the man running helter-skelter toward Jesus, then bowing down before him, becomes a light for our path.
Because some of those thousands of daily thoughts we have leave us troubled, bowing before Jesus is a good destination for us all.
What difficult realities do you bring to Jesus?
God, do I sprint towards you when I struggle? Do I know that you are the destination I need? Help me realize that you’re already at work in me. Amen.