|The disciples work Jesus and said to him, ‘teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ (Mark 4:38).|
This weekend we’ve heard two talks on storms in the Bible. On Friday, Mike brilliantly spoke on Jesus camping the storm at Wendy’s thanksgiving service; and yesterday I had the joy of speaking on Jesus walking on the water at Messy Church.
In both passages, one of the immediately obvious things is the fear the disciples have. For them, storms are a thing of terror, uncontrollable, unmanaged, potentially lethal. And in both passages, we see the remarkable authority that Jesus has over nature. Jesus is in the business of bringing order out of chaos. He creates the world out of nothing in the beginning, makes a ragtag bunch of refugees after the Exodus into a people, and even calms the raging seas to the point where he is able to walk on it.
But the question the disciples ask, in their fear, is not about whether God is able to do something about the situation – he clearly is – but about whether he cares for them enough to do something about the situation.
And we ask the same question, don’t we? When we get that hospital phone call, when we suffer that disappointment again, when what we were hoping for (even promised?) doesn’t happen – we ask the same question – ‘Jesus, don’t you care?’.
And I think we can see the answer to this in three ways:
Firstly, we look back and we see the cross. As we ask why hard stuff comes into our lives, the cross means that the answer cannot be that God doesn’t care. Anyone who goes to those lengths to rescue us cannot not care about us.
Secondly, we look forward to the hope of heaven. There is a day coming where what was purchased at the cross and with the resurrection will be completed for all time. We may or may not see God step in and solve our issues in the present – but we will see him solve all issues on that last day, once for all. He will prove his mastery, not simply over nature, but over all that is broken in this world.
Thirdly, we experience his presence with us now. I’ve been struck when I meet with Rob that every night as he goes to bed, he asks God for peace. And every night, Rob experiences the supernatural peace of Jesus. This is not a God who is indifferent to suffering, this is a God who cares.
What will you do with these pieces of evidence? Well we can ignore them (as we all do at times), and remain wrapped up in our own worry, fear, bitterness and hurt. Or we can choose to trust in them and, daily, ask God to give us the peace and presence he promises.