Jesus, Don't You Care?
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 (NIV)
On a blustery spring day, two other moms and I sat huddled on cold bleachers. As the runners crossed the finish line, we shared a group exhale. Loud laughter followed the realization that each of us had been holding our breath and leaning forward with muscles tensed.
Yes, it was our daughters who were competing together in a relay race. But in that way universal to moms, we were with them on the track.
It’s true at each meet. Our hearts ache when there is a slow start or dropped baton; we jump and shout when personal records are shattered. Not because we care so much about wins or losses. But because we care about our girls.
The nurturing we have poured into them, and the close sharing of daily life have linked our hearts to our daughters’. Since they began participating in this sport, we have witnessed their hard work and courage. So each time they take their places at the starting line, we keenly share all that they experience. We want them to succeed. Not only as athletes, but also as young women learning the lessons the sport has to teach them. Lessons like endurance, teamwork, and resilience.
A parent’s love is nearly boundless. We will go to great lengths to protect our children and to provide for them. A great deal of our time and energy goes to ensure their wellbeing.
The very fierceness of that love gives us a small glimpse into Jesus’ heart for us. As far as we will travel for our children, he went further still by entering our desperately darkened world. Incredibly, he chose to do it by being born into a family of humble circumstances, who were citizens of a conquered nation.
For thirty years he lived a quiet life, and when he became a public figure, his fame came from the way he served his people. He lived and walked among them, sharing the hardships of their daily lives. Along the way, he invited a small group of men to come alongside and learn from him. Those disciples saw people forgiven, miraculously fed, and freed from illness and evil.
That’s what makes the scene in the boat so surprising. The terrified disciples rebuked Jesus as he slept peacefully during the storm. They accused him of indifference, saying “Don’t you care if we drown?”
But Jesus was right there in the boat with them! He wasn’t removed from their situation. He was right beside them through it all. The cold spray from the waves dashed his face too. His body was tossed around in that wildly rocking boat just as much as theirs.
In their terror, the disciples overlooked Jesus’ nearness. They missed the truth of his presence in their crisis. It never crossed their minds that there was an opportunity in this storm, that they would be granted a private viewing of his power and his care.
Yet, is their reaction really so surprising? Over decades I have experienced the faithfulness of my Savior in countless ways, much like the disciples. Still, when trouble comes, I respond just as they did. The minute the wind rises and the waves threaten, I panic. I see a hurting family member, a dwindling bank account, or a closed door of opportunity and suddenly I can’t see Jesus. I lash out at him for being far away, when all the time he’s right beside me, just waiting for me to turn to him in trust.
My friends, there is not one thing we can walk through that Jesus doesn’t share. The pain, sorrow, and loneliness that comes our way touches him too. After giving his very life for us, he sent his Spirit to empower us. That means his presence with us is a fact. No matter what.
I won’t make it to every single track meet, basketball game, or concert my kids are in, but I show up consistently. As a parent, I want my children to trust my love, to know that I am for them. In the same way, Jesus wants me, wants each of us, to lean confidently into his care.
We are not alone! The next time the clouds gather and we fear our boats will be swamped, we can replace “don’t you care?” with “I know you’re there, Jesus. Can you help me see you?” He’ll remind us that he knows, he cares, and he will not let us drown.