Reading the gospel this Sunday, I could not help but think about the current situation that we find ourselves in. For the whole world, this is probably one of the worst global “storms” we have ever faced. The magnitude of this “storm” has disrupted our lives in ways none of us envisaged would happen.
As the pandemic started taking hold of the world, many Christians started asking questions like ‘Where is God?’, ‘Why isn’t God hearing our prayers to stop the virus?’, ‘Why does God let bad things happen?’ Perhaps for many people, the feeling of desperation and even a sense of not being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel makes them wonder if God really cares because He seems very silent or distant to our current struggles.
The Gospel today hinges on the question “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” (Mark 4:39). The disciples were fighting a storm and possibly everything that they were doing to save themselves was not going according to plan. One may wonder how is it Jesus was able to sleep through the strong winds and waves – not the lesson that this narrative was intended to communicate.
A similar question appears in the Gospel of Luke when Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, Mary: “Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself?” (Luke 10:40). Biblical personages asked Jesus what many of us are probably asking in this difficult time, “Lord, do you not care?”
At a time like this, it is not easy to let go of our expectations of God and of how we want our lives to move on. It’s much easier to point fingers, cast blame, and even question God Himself. However, the Gospel today gives us that light at the end of the tunnel that we are waiting for.
Before falling asleep on the boat, Jesus told His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). He “promised” that they would make it across but when the wind and waves hit the boat, the disciples forgot those words of Jesus. The key point here is not that Jesus did not care and continued to sleep but the disciples forgot the “promise of Jesus”.
It is said that the phrase “Be not afraid” appears 365 times in the Bible, once for each day of the year. However, when our circumstances are hard, it may not be the first words that come to mind because of the expectations we put on God. At a time like this, many people are feeling alone or overwhelmed by the circumstances, and it is only natural for us to cry out, “Lord, don’t You care?”
However, in being confronted with this same question posed by His disciples and Martha, Jesus, in a gentle and caring voice says, “Why are you so frightened?” (Mark 4:40). “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).
In the midst of a flurry of emotions in most of us, we need to look at the words of Jesus to His disciples, “Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” It is normal to feel as if Jesus is asleep to our plight and that He does not care.
In the midst of this crisis, the word of God also reminds us to “unload all your burden on to him, since he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). To the “naked eye” God may appear powerless or indifferent to what is happening in our world, but to the eyes of faith, one thing is for sure – Jesus cares more deeply than you know!
At a time when many of us find ourselves in a roller-coaster of fear vs. faith, let us be mindful that every storm can be an opportunity to deepen our faith because God’s greatest treasures are often hidden in our most difficult storms.
Lord Jesus, keep our minds focussed on you as we navigate this challenging storm we face. Reassure our hearts that you always care for us. Amen.
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (20 June 2021)