I can experience God’s peace only when I remind myself that He genuinely cares for me.
Shortly before our first son reached his first birthday, we had to take him to the hospital for surgery. The time had come for a skilled surgeon to separate two of our son’s fingers that were fused together.
While the surgery was important, it certainly wasn’t life-threatening. As is standard procedure, our son could not eat or drink anything after midnight. After the anesthesia, we had to let him be wheeled into surgery without us.
As a parent, I was concerned for his safety, but I had full confidence in the doctors and nurses committed to his care. What plagued my heart more was the thought of my son’s anxiety over the strange things happening to him. Surely he would feel confused and afraid. Why were Mommy and Daddy not feeding him? Why were they leaving him in a strange place with strange people? Would his little mind question the security of our love?
A small child in a big hospital bed may wonder, “Doesn’t my Mommy and Daddy love me?” when yet another nurse comes to poke his arm or take her blood. Similarly, we may interpret painful things in our own lives as indications that God does not care about us. We may think, Perhaps He doesn’t love us, after all. Even the men who knew Jesus the best, in the face of one of their greatest fears, cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care…?” (Mark 4:38).
Mark 4:35-41 shows us the scene of an evening on the Lake of Galilee. After a long day with the crowds, Jesus’ disciples are fishing. The Master is exhausted from the hours of preaching and meeting the needs of the people. He lies on a cushion and falls asleep in the back of the boat.
Suddenly, a storm rises up from the lake, and even the most seasoned fishermen among them are afraid. They grew up on this lake and they know the violent potential of the waves and the wind roaring about them. It was not a fanciful fear—water was already filling the boat.
In their panic, they shook Jesus awake. Their cry for help revealed the agony in their hearts: “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” (NLT). Not, “Help us—You can save us.” Not, “Do something!” But, “Don’t you care?” In the raging storm, they wondered aloud whether Jesus genuinely cared whether they lived or died.
Jesus speaks, but not to them. He commands the wind and the waves—“Be still!”—and they obey. A great calm and an eerie silence frames Jesus’ two short questions to his men: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The storm had been real—their clothes and hair still dripped from the wet beating. That storm was far less real, however, than the man they had seen heal the sick and drive out demons.
Like the disciples, we all face storms in our lives—storms and dangers that are incredibly vivid and real. The water is rising in the boat, the bills are due, the accident happened, the pink slip isn’t a joke, the medical test is positive. What will we cry out to the Lord? We cannot see or hear Him; it may feel like He’s sleeping at the back of the boat. Unlike the disciples, we know that Jesus died and rose from the dead. Yet do we believe, today, that He cares for us?
We don’t know how the storms will end or whether our small boat will make it across to the other side. All our greatest fears may indeed come true. But sometime, somewhere, we must answer Jesus’ probing questions: “Why are you afraid? Don’t you trust me?”
Our son had not lived long enough to know that we longed to do everything to care for him. He cried before he went into surgery and he cried when he came out. What a difference seven years later when we took our son to the emergency room for stitches after he crashed his bike. Not only was he calm and trusting, but he knew I was there and would take care of him.
In our heart of hearts, do we trust that Jesus is our compassionate, committed Rescuer? If He is not concerned, I will slip into the waves and be lost for sure. But if He cares, I can endure and experience His incredible peace anew.
About Renée Sanford
Renée has been married to her high school sweetheart, David, for 30 years. They are the parents of three grown and married children and two teens and blessed with six grandkids. Renée has a passion for encouraging mothers at every stage—in an article, at a conference, or over a cup of coffee or tea. Renée is the co-author (with David) of How to Read Your Bible and the notes for the Living Faith Bible.