Teacher, Do You Not Care That We Are Perishing?

A Question in the Midst of a Storm

image for perishing

We may be tempted like those early disciples of Jesus to ask whether he cares when we seem to be perishing. These twelve men found themselves in the midst of a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. While they panicked, Jesus slept. They awakened him with their question of his concern or seemingly lack of concern. Have you ever found yourself in a similar boat? Has it seemed to you as if Jesus were sleeping while some violent storm threatened you?

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he 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?
–Mark 4:37-38

When you next find yourself in a storm (and you will), remember these aspects of the biblical account.

1. Jesus led the disciples into the storm.

When your path becomes untenable, consider that as a believer the Lord is with you amid the storm. But even more than that, the Lord is the one that walked with you into the storm.

The opening line of this passage may be forgotten by the time are minds are focused on the storm.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”
–Mark 4:35

It was Jesus who charted the night’s course. The storm would not nor did not surprise him.

By the time the disciples felt the winds and were tossed by the waves, they likely had forgotten who called for this nighttime cruise. What faith they could have demonstrated had they remembered what Jesus said in verse 35!

Does your faith resemble that of the disciples? Do you so focus on the storms of life that you fail to consider that the Lord is the one who has lead you into those very storms?

Remember this: When the Lord leads you into a storm, he will remain with you in the storm, and he will see you through the storm.

As Jesus did in this instance, he can put an end to the storm. At other times, he may walk with you to the other side of the unabated storm.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
–Psalm 23:4

Walking through is just as caring from the Lord our shepherd as is escaping from the storm or valley.

2. Jesus responded to the cries of his disciples.

We know well that as the boat was tossed and filling with water, Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke him with their question of whether he cared for them. I find it interesting that they did not ask, “Teacher, will you calm this storm?” In the end Jesus’ ability to calm the storm caused them great fear. They may not have even thought to ask him to calm the storm.

But they did ask about his concern for them. They were confident that he did care. But the evidence of what was in front of them conflicted with that confidence. The disciples knew they had no answer to the storm. Did Jesus?

When we walk in our storms, we should be confident that our God is not only all powerful but that he cares for those who are his.

When his disciples cry out to him, these prayers serve as the means for the working of God. God does not need our prayers to be at work. Yet he uses our prayers as the means for his work.

3. Jesus taught a lesson on faith.

At the end of the storm, Jesus asked an important question.

Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
–Mark 4:40

Jesus contrasted their fear with their faith, or lack thereof. At this point we feel a little pity for the twelve. How could they not be afraid? Who’s faith wouldn’t be weak?

Instead of being afraid of the storm, Jesus wanted them to have faith in his word. Notice that I did not say that their faith meant that they would believe that the storm would be halted. Faith is based on what Christ says.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
–Romans 10:17

The $64,000 question for faith is what says the Lord? In this instance the word of Christ is found in v. 35 when Jesus said they were going to the other side. Whether he stopped the storm or rode through the storm, he was getting them to the other side. When you hear God speak about where he is taking us, we can be confident that we will get there.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
–Philippians 1:6

How’s your confidence? How’s your faith? You should not have to worry about whether your Lord cares for you…even when you think you are perishing in the storm.