Mark 1:45 “…As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”
Satan is the master messer-upper. He fans the flames of separation and hatred, incites violence, and does anything within the power he’s been granted to inflict pain and suffering on the world. But we serve a God who is bigger. A God who is all about redemption. A God who takes the evil Satan intends and turns it into good.
God knows how to do end runs.
When Jesus healed the man with leprosy, he warned him not to tell anyone, but to go to the priest and offer the required sacrifices (Mark 1:43-45). The former leper, however, functioned at internet speed, and before long everyone in Galilee had heard the news. It’s hard to keep quiet about life-altering miracles. And I suspect there may have been a crafty demon whispering in his ear to disregard Jesus’ caution. The result was that Jesus could no longer move freely, but was confined to “lonely places” outside the towns. If Satan couldn’t stop the healing and hope, he would try to isolate its bringer.
But it didn’t work out the way Satan planned. Scripture tells us that “the people still came to [Jesus] from everywhere.” His scheme backfired.
Jesus continues to do end runs. I recently read the story of two Iranian women who were unjustly forced into prison because of their faith in Christ. Despite the deplorable conditions, their fellow prisoners—prostitutes, drug addicts, wives who simply failed to please their abusive husbands—women who would never otherwise have heard the gospel, found Jesus through them. The most notorious, dehumanizing prison in Iran was transformed into a sanctuary of hope because of the witness of these two brave Christians. Satan meant their imprisonment for harm; God used it for good.
Do you know there is nothing that comes our way that God cannot use for good? Satan tries to steal our health, wealth and security; Jesus ushers us to our knees and reveals true health, true wealth and true security. There is no hurt, no wound, no failure we face that Jesus can’t move from the negative to the positive column.
So although Satan may indeed be the master messer-upper, he is no match for the master end runner.