35 Later that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” 36 They left the crowd and took him in the boat just as he was. Other boats followed along.
37 Gale-force winds arose, and waves crashed against the boat so that the boat was swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the rear of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?”
39 He got up and gave orders to the wind, and he said to the lake, “Silence! Be still!” The wind settled down and there was a great calm. 40 Jesus asked them, “Why are you frightened? Don’t you have faith yet?”
41 Overcome with awe, they said to each other, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”
One of the most persistent and most troubling questions of faith is: “Does God really care?” It’s a legitimate question. We look around the world and see immense suffering. It sometimes touches our lives too. And we wonder where God is in all of it.
The disciples ask this same question of Jesus, as they find him sleeping in the back of the boat during a storm: “Don’t you care?” It seems that even in the very presence of God, we still can’t get away from the nagging feeling that our Creator might not have our best interests at heart.
Faith is challenging in the best of times. And when we’re up against it, faith becomes that much more difficult. But this passage provides a kind of pattern that I’ve found true in my own experience.
In most cases when I’m struggling, I go through at least one round of “Are you even there, God?” before I again experience the presence and peace of God. It’s almost like God shows up in direct response to my question. That might be through a change in the circumstances, an important conversation that reassures me, or a kind gesture that lets me know God – and the people around me – care. I don’t know why that’s the pattern, but that’s the pattern – at least in my experience.
I question, I complain, God responds. And in every case I find that the answer to my plea: “Do you even care?” is a profound YES. God replies with peace, power, and provision.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you found yourself at the end of your rope, only to find that God was waiting there to catch you? If you’ve had experiences like that, take a moment to give thanks. If you know someone who’s going through it now, reach out to them and offer to pray with them. And if you’re in your own moment of questioning…know that Jesus is still in the boat with you!
Prayer: Jesus our Savior, help us to trust you in every circumstance. Give us faith in your goodness by meeting us once again in our need. We pray this for ourselves and all those who are hurting today. Amen.