When we get stuck in life, God wants to help us get “unstuck”. God wants to free us from the things in our life that bind us. God wants to free us from the things that have us feeling like we are trapped and can not escape.
There are lots of things that we can get stuck on. It can be big things in our life like an addiction, or our problem we have at our job or in a relationship with someone from our family. But we can also get stuck by things in our life that aren’t so visible but are just as arresting. Having a negative attitude in a bad situation can be as detrimental to finding a solution as situation itself. Thinking things like “I am never going to be happy”, or “I am never going to get a head”, or “I am never going to get along with my co-worker” can leave us frozen in the same spot even when the opportunity opens up for us to change our situation.
Indeed there are times in life when we find ourselves in a situation where we feel stuck and there seems little chance that thing are going to change soon. In fact, we may not be able to change our job or our situation, but we can always change our heart, and how we respond. And this is where God is always waiting to help. God wants to change our hearts because God wants us to get unstuck. God wants us to be free of addictions and attitudes that draws into hurt and unnecessary suffering. God wants to change the voice inside us that says “I am never going to be happy”, or “I am never going to get ahead”, or “I am never going to get along with my co-worker” to the voice that says “I will be happy”, or “I will get ahead”, or “I will treat all my co-workers with respect, even if I disagree with them.” God wants to our hearts to be free of malice and hate so that we can be messengers of his peace, compassion and justice. God wants to change us because God wants us to be ready to receive the blessings that are ahead for us all.
In Mark’s Gospel one of the very first things that Jesus does is cast out an unclean spirit from a man it had possessed, who was at the synagogue. Now most scholars agree that Possession in the New Testament was used to explain most of what we today would call “mental illness”. But whatever was really the matter with the man in our passage today, the point I want to focus on today is that he was trapped by his condition and by the labels of his community and Jesus freed him. The part that rang true with about this story is that this man was bound in this situation, had come to the synagogue for help, and Jesus had the power to free him.
The Good News of our gospel today is that God has the power to change our lives, to free us, on the inside, from those things in our life that have got us stuck. I don’t mean that Jesus will make our teeth whiter, our breath fresher, or remind us to put the cap back on the toothpaste when we are finished. But in fact, that God has the power to transform us deep below the surface. The parts of not seen by the naked eye but the parts that do guide us in the right direction. God wants to help us by changing our attitude from negative to a positive one, God wants to change our outlook on our life and situations, so that when God gives us blessing and opportunity, we can see them in front of us. And God wants to change our heart so that we are not so easily driven by fear and anger, or greed and selfishness.
When God reaches into our life and changes our heart, it is like we are connected to a deep ocean current. That “current” is his deep love for us and the wise purpose of his will. No matter how hard the winds on the water of our life try to blow, we do not have to let ourselves be tossed and tumbled. No matter which way the economic winds blow, we know that we are precious to God. No matter what obstacles we come across in our relationships or at work, we know that God will guide us past it.
Whatever has been holding you back, whatever has held you trapped, God wants to set you free.