Do You Not Care?

Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee

A great illustration of worry and fear is found in the story of Jesus calming the storm. The disciples are in a boat and the winds kick up. They’re sure this is the end and Jesus is asleep in the stern. His friends wake him and ask, “Do you not care that we are perishing!?” Jesus gets up and calms the storm, leaving the disciples amazed and asking, “Who is this guy!?” (Mark 4:35-41)

I’m always struck by their question, “Do you not care that we are perishing!?” Worry and fear often come from believing that God doesn’t care. He doesn’t seem to notice that the world (or my world) is being tossed and turned by upheaval and uncertainty. Doesn’t God care that we are perishing? Doesn’t he notice how hard we are trying to keep our heads above water? A little help here would be nice!

Jesus spends an inordinate amount of scripture telling us not to worry or fear, but to trust and have faith. Easier said than done. That brings up the question: What does it take to move us from fear to faith?

My past seminary professor Dr. David Lose talks about this in his blog (davidlose.net). He points out that fear and faith are similar in that both relate to something that is unknown, challenging, difficult or threatening. Therefore, when faced with those things, we have a choice: fear or faith.

Rarely is it an either/or choice because faith doesn’t so much replace fear as it makes it possible for us to cope with fear. So, what enables us to act in faith and not be weighed down with worry and frozen by fear?

We may argue that it would be easier for us to cope with fear if we just had a miracle or two to convince us God really does care. But the calming-of-the-sea miracle in this story tends to create more fear than the bumpy boat ride. “Who is this man!?” the disciples cry out. Even though they had already witnessed many of his miracles, they were still unsure of who Jesus was.

Lose writes: “The shift in the disciples’ reaction—from ‘do you not care we are perishing’ to ‘who is this’—signifies a shift from what, the miracle, to who, Jesus. Which leads me to conclude that perhaps the answer to our question—What moves us from fear to faith?—is relationship. It’s the move from what to who, from event to person, from ambiguous miracle to the actual person of Jesus.”

The faith we need to cope with fear is found in a relationship with the God revealed by the actions and words of Jesus. Perhaps you’ve heard the children’s blessing: “God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.” If we don’t believe this, worry and fear will be our companion. If we whole-heartily believe God is good all the time, then it becomes possible to put our trust in him.

Being Human connection: In the end, what moves us from fear to faith is not a what but who.

Featured Art: Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633, whereabouts unknown.

Note of Interest: On the morning of March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers broke into the museum and stole The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and 12 other works in what is considered to be the biggest art theft in U.S. history. The museum still displays the paintings’ empty frames in their original locations and the heist remains unsolved.

On March 18, 2013, the FBI announced that they knew who was responsible for the crime. Criminal analysis has suggested that the heist was committed by an organized crime group. There have been no conclusions made public, as the investigation is ongoing. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Storm_on_the_Sea_of_Galilee)