While working with students, I have heard kids say I don’t think anyone would care if I were dead. Others thought ‘if people knew what I have done they wouldn’t love me or care for me anymore’. With adults, the conversation changes to earning love and care by what we do.
One of the fundamental needs we have as humans is to feel loved and cared for.
The truth is there are times in our lives where we feel like we will be drowned by the stresses of this world. We have so much going on that it seems as if no one cares about us or what we have going on in our lives.
There is a passage in the Gospel of Mark that displays this truth:
There arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and [the disciples] woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’ (Mark 4:37-41 NASB, emphasis added)
The disciples were about to die; the uncontrollable, powerful sea was about to swallow them up. Then, in what they thought were their final moments, they accused their teacher of not caring about them.
What an interesting time to ask Jesus if He cared that they were perishing. Were they expecting Him to say ‘Yes’ and then grab a bucket to help get the water out of the boat?
I don’t think they were expecting an answer. I believe that at this moment it became clear to them that nothing really matters except to know that Jesus cares for them. This is a desperate plea from scared men.
But what happened next went beyond their expectations. Jesus demonstrated His care as their teacher by proving His power over the uncontrollable sea. This terrified the disciples because they were trained fisherman with a vast knowledge of the unpredictable nature of the sea. But with three words their teacher calmed this raging storm.
Jesus showed himself to be more powerful and more uncontrollable than the sea, while at the same time revealing how much he cared for them. At that moment, everything that was impossible became possible. Their understanding of God and His world started to shift.
I can imagine them feeling all at once that Jesus completely cared for them, but also disoriented by His immense power. The mysterious reality is that indeed Jesus did care about their lives, but He Himself is more uncontrollable than nature – making him unpredictable, infinitely powerful, and frankly, unsafe.
Jesus isn’t the soft, tame, or safe God we sometimes hope He is. But as C.S. Lewis puts it in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (emphasis added)
We are incapable of manipulating, controlling or even fully understanding Jesus, but we can know for certain that Jesus loves and cares for us more than the depth of the seas and the strength of the waves.
I often get discouraged by the direction of our culture and the lack of caring adults in the lives of many of the youth in the United States. When I think about the lives being stained by other humans I lose focus on how much God loves and cares for us. I have to constantly remind myself of that reality, or I get stuck in hopelessness. I can find myself asking, “God do you care that people are perishing?’, and He responds by saying, “Yes, that’s why I created you.’
As this tumultuous world seems to rise against us, how can we focus on the power of Christ’s love for us?