The Day Hopelessness Had No Chance

by Katy Kauffman

Overcoming the Obstacles of the Christian Life
A Blog Series on the Gospel of Mark

The clanging of his chains had become a part of him, as much as the hosts that lived within him. Night and day he roamed the hills, the links of his chains scraping with every jostle and jump. The sound was nothing compared to the torrent of cries and shrieks in his soul. They wouldn’t leave. But they gave him incredible strength. Enough might to break the chains that terrified people had used to try to subdue him.

How fitting that he lived among the tombs. He longed for the relief that the departed souls may have found. They were no longer trapped inside their bodies, like he was. Even though he was here as the only living man among the dead, he was dead inside. Dead to hope, dead to peace, dead to life.

Evil lived inside of him, evil that possessed thousands of voices, thousands of dark desires. They acted as sharp knives on his heart and sanity. Would he ever be free?

Something drew him to the water. He saw a man get out of a boat, and he instantly knew. He knew who this was—the Son of God.

“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
And he cried out with a loud voice and said,
‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’”
Mark 5:6-7 NKJV

You may recognize this story. It’s one of my favorites. The day that the demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes met his liberator.

Jesus knew what possessed this man—a legion of demons (Mark 5:9). At the time, a legion may have equaled 6,826 soldiers.1 Or 6,826 demons. Hopeless. Except for Jesus.

The man was powerless against the legion within him. So were the people who tried to tame him. Yet, when the legion met Jesus, there was no fighting, no flinging rocks, no running. Just begging.

Instead of being sent away, the legion begged Jesus to send them into a herd of swine. He granted their wish, and two thousand swine trampled the hillside and drowned in the sea.

The people of the town came out when they heard about this. And there he was. The man who had been possessed, “sitting and clothed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15 NKJV). Instead of joy, the people felt fear, and begged Jesus to leave. Instead of fear, the man felt joy, and begged Jesus to let him follow Him.

Hopelessness Today

In our lives today, hopelessness can take the form of a legion of sorrows. Sometimes we feel like we are trapped inside our own minds that are filled with negativity and despair. Or we are trapped in a situation that we can’t escape. Or a relationship that we have cherished is crumbling and we don’t know what to do. Or we have lost something or someone we hold dear.

Yet there is Someone who is strong enough to rescue us from any form that hopelessness takes. He became one of us so that He could be God with us (Matthew 1:23). Jesus has felt our sorrows—including loneliness, loss, temptation, and betrayal—and He overcame every obstacle He faced. He handled every desperation with strength and courage. He died on the cross and rose from the dead, breaking the power of sin and death to rule our lives.

No matter how bad it gets, Jesus can help us. He cut the spiritual chains of the demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes. He liberated his soul from the oppression and control of evil. He restored his senses and faculties. If we turn to Jesus today, He can rescue us from the oppression we feel from our circumstances or from our spiritual enemy. He renews our strength, peace, joy, endurance, and hope. He frees us from bondage to sin and rescues us from Satan’s attacks. He liberates us from hopelessness and places in our hearts an expectation of the great good He can deliver.

Jesus’ choice tools of liberation include His word, His presence, and His power. He also uses other people to encourage us and surround us with love and help. He gives us grace to handle difficult circumstances and people. He rescues us from hopelessness and gives us a story to share with others—how He has helped us and how He can help them too.

A New Ending

The demon-possessed man may have thought that he would live the rest of life among the tombs, bound to an evil force he couldn’t overcome. But Jesus wrote a new ending to his life and gave him a fresh beginning. The man wanted to use his freedom to follow Jesus, to go wherever He went. But Jesus gave him a different mission—to go home and tell his friends what the Lord did for him and about His compassion.

For all of us who believe in Jesus, He writes a new ending to our story—freedom, hope, victory. We don’t have to go through life with clanging chains wrapped around our souls, forever caught in despair or some form of spiritual bondage. Jesus gives us a fresh beginning in which we are clothed in His righteousness, sitting at His feet, in our right minds. Minds that are being transformed with the liberating truth of God’s word and the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. Minds that come to understand the Lord’s compassion and what He can do for us and for the ones we love.

No matter how bad it gets, Jesus can help us. Have you seen Him do that for you? Tell us about His compassion and freeing work in the comments below, and if some cause for hopelessness ambushes you, run to the One who can conquer anything. Hopelessness has no chance when we run to Jesus and ask Him for help. He can cast out the despair in our hearts and replace it with hope and great good.

1 Larry Pierce, The Online Bible, CD-ROM (Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2007), Mark 5:9.

© Copyright 2018 by Katy Kauffman


This post is a part of our series called “Overcoming the Obstacles of the Christian Life.” If you missed the first two posts, click the links below to check them out:

Subscribers, comment here.

hopelessness, obstacles, challenges, faith, Jesus, Overcoming the Obstacles of the Christian Life, Mark, The Day Hopelessness Had No Chance, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (8)

  • anon

    Katy, this account is a good reminder that no one is a match for Jesus. When I was despondent about lack of spiritual growth, God showed me Philippians 1:6 to counter my negative thoughts. He will free us from the chains that weigh us down.  

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    Yes. He will and He'll complete His work! Thank you for your comment, Jeannie. I love remembering that no disease or demon is too strong for Jesus. It's one of the reasons from Mark Chapter 1 that He can handle the obstacles we face. He heals and frees. Physically and spiritually. 

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    I love the way God can take a horrible story and write an ending that brings Him glory. That is what it is all about. God writes our stories with all of their ups and downs so He can find ways to show off how great He is. The formerly demon-possed man wanted to go with Jesus, but instead he proclaimed freedom to those who had known him as chained.  What a happy ending!

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    It would have been something to see the transformation take place in this man. Thanks for your comment, Joanna. I am grateful for how God can turn a story around and write an ending (or a wonderful new beginning) better than we could have imagined.

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    Thank you, Katy, for this post about the man who lived among the tombs. I love that you pointed out that we may be plagued with a legion of sorrows. Unfortunately, the busier we seem to allow ourselves to get in this life journey, the more potential sorrows we add to our plate. But Jesus truly is our liberator. And, He may then send us across the world to let someone know what He's done, or He may want us to tell our family and friends, right in our own backyard, just outside the tombs that held us captive prior to our relationship with Him. Thanks for the reminder! 

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment, Julie! I am grateful that Jesus can free us from bondage no matter how bad it has become. And He frees us from so many harmful things. You're right. A busy schedule can compound a problem, especially if we're not spending enough time with God to refresh our souls. 

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    I taught on Mark last Sunday in a Sunday school type of class. As I was preparing I found this post. I loved the way you brought this man, who has no name in Scripture, to life. I read your post to my class. I passed it around and several recorded your web site. They loved it, too. It went well with the section I was teaching on as well, Thank you!

    Sep 27, 2018
  • anon

    That just makes my day. Thank you for telling me. I love it that the timing was just right. I absolutely love the Gospel of Mark and how Jesus is the Hero again and again. Thank you for sharing my post with your group! May God bless your class.

    Sep 27, 2018

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 


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