And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. –Mark 4:37-39
The disciples were afraid. They were trying to cross the Sea of Galilee when a sudden windstorm swept up on them and the boat started to sink from all the waves that were washing into it. And through it all, Jesus was down in the stern, sleeping.
How could He sleep at a time like this? Wasn’t He going to do something? At least He could grab a bucket and start bailing out water! So the disciples went down to where He was and woke Him up with the harsh question: “Don’t you care that we’re dying?!”
It’s always the temptation of our frail flesh and minds to think that Jesus doesn’t care. Something bad comes along and our first reaction is to think that Jesus is asleep at the switch, or that He’s angry, or even worse, that He doesn’t care. Like the disciples, we launch our questions at Jesus: “How could you let this happen? Why won’t you stop it? Aren’t you going to help me? Don’t you care that I’m perishing?”
This is the reaction of unfaith. Unfaith refuses to look at all the goodness that our Lord has done for us in the past. Unfaith refuses to look at all the great promises that He gives for the future. Unfaith wants to have its sight satisfied: if things look good, they must be good; if things look challenging, they must be bad. Unfaith says that we should only receive good things, those things that our fallen human nature likes.
But then the windstorms of life come along. Something rocks the boat, something that tips us off-center and we get scared. We’re scared that we’re not as good as we think we are. We’re scared that somehow God’s love for us has disappeared. We’re afraid that Jesus doesn’t care.
But that’s unfaith. As an answer to this, Jesus doesn’t give us a long list of things we can do better to make Him love us or care. Instead, He takes care of the problem. He calms the storm. It might not be right away. He didn’t wake up and calm the storm right when it first swept up on the disciples. It might not be in the way we thought, but it is in His own way, which is often unexpected. But it does show us that He does care. He tells the winds and waves to be still. He calls for peace in the middle of storms.
That’s why He came to earth. When the storms of sin and death were threatening to drown every last human being, Jesus came to us and spoke peace. He spoke forgiveness. He died on the cross to buy that forgiveness. And from the cross, peace and forgiveness still flows. He still forgives. He still calms storms—whether in the world or in our hearts.
“Jesus, don’t you care?” Of course He does. He showed that He does when He came to live among us, when He died on the cross, and when He rose again to give us eternal life. He cares and He still works wonders so that our faith would always be strengthened in His ability to save us.
Gracious God, Your love and compassion knows no limits. We pray that You would calm all storms of doubt and fear. Show us Your salvation and rescue us from everything that threatens us. Increase our faith in You and Your love for us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen