It had been a long day for Jesus. People flocked to wherever he was to hear his teaching and to seek healing in many ways. Whether you believed he was sent from God or not, there was no denying that there was something about this man from Galilee that was so compelling people left their jobs and fields just to get a glimpse of him. This was such a day, with the crowds pressing in so much that Jesus stepped into a boat and pushed away from shore a little ways just to get some distance.
All day he spoke to them in stories that were designed to make them think differently and more deeply about their own place in the Kingdom of God. He told the parable of the sower, and other stories about growing seeds, faith compared to a mustard seed and the importance of living in the light (Mark 4).
Long day….and at the end of it he asked his friends if they could get away from the crowd and head to the other side of the lake. At some point that evening an exhausted Jesus laid down in the back end of the boat and fell asleep. The gospel writer, Mark describes what happened next: “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:37,38)
“Don’t you care if we drown?!”
Not, “Please save us!” “Do the miracle thing and speak to the waves!”
Instead, they asked Jesus….Jesus, who they loved and left all to follow.…Jesus, who had invited them into his life as a personal teacher and friend….Jesus, who had demonstrated his power and compassion over and over again…if he even cared that they were about to drown.
If he even cared….
Mark goes on to tell us that Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Notice he didn’t stop to answer their accusation of not caring….he just calmed the storm, then he asked them why they were so afraid and where their faith had gone.
It’s easy to shake our heads and wonder what in the world they were thinking to ask such a thoughtless and insensitive question. We want to cup our hands and shout into the storm, “Hey, guys….just ask Jesus to help you out….you know he can handle a storm, right? And don’t even think about saying that “not caring” thing!”
But I have to admit, there have been a few storms that I’ve wondered the same thing. Instead of letting faith rise to meet the waves I’ve stormed up to Jesus and asked why he was letting it happen instead of asking for peace. I’m not proud of those moments, but I share it with you because it’s profoundly human and I’m very sure I’m not the only one who’s reacted in fear instead of faith.
But here’s the thing about Jesus….in the middle of our raging at injustice and accusations of not being seen and cared about by the very One who loves us more than we can possibly comprehend……he just stands in the middle of it all, looks us in the eye and speaks peace. He doesn’t have to. We don’t deserve it. But out of his deep, deep love for us, he brings calm to our stoms.
He’s on our side, friends. He is always for us and never against us, no matter how huge and threatening the storm seems. All we have to do is allow our faith to rise to meet it.
Jesus will take care of the rest.
Thankful for you!