The rain felt really good to me this morning! I had been running a couple of miles when it started to fall, so I enjoyed every bit of it. But when it came time to take my daughter to school in it, she didn't feel the same way. She asked if she could stay home from school because it was raining (she must've forgotten we live in Florida), and I said No! So, she suggested she would be safer at home by herself in a storm rather than at school inside a building with other people. Nice try, but I still said No!
When storms arrive, sometimes we forget what we need to do to make it through. If you are one of those people, take comfort in the fact that even the disciples had a time where they struggled during a storm. Mark 4 records this incident, which happens to be one of my favorites passages of Jesus interacting with the disciples (once they decided to ask Him for help):
"That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side.' Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. 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...?'" (Mark 4:35-39)
I stopped quoting the passage that way on purpose. Whenever we face storms that we weren't expecting (but maybe should've been), that's when we start asking questions that we should already know the answers to. Already, these men have been through so much with Jesus. They've also had a front row seat to see Him do so much, which makes me wonder why they ever wondered IF He cared. I'd love to be judgmental towards them, but I know there have been times where I did the same thing. I've had to watch family members battle physical struggles, I've seen people I care about have spend time locked up in prison, I've had to tell my wife I lost my job, and I've had to work a second job to pay the bills. I've had to help kids through trauma and try to help them understand why this happened to them, and I've had to help adults understand why they acted out when it did. I could give you a long list of things that happened to me (or those I love) that had me start asking "Don't you care...?"
But every time I do ask that or even consider that possibility, I have to also stop questioning Him so I can start seeing Him work miraculously! Read the rest of the passage and you'll notice that He got up (because He DID care), rebuked the wind, and told the waves to be still...and they listened. The people listened, and so did the wind and the waves - leaving the people to ask another question: "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!" And if those elements obey Him, shouldn't we do the same?!?
If you've ever encountered a storm like this, you might agree with my daughter that it may be better if you just stayed home. But we can't reach a world of hurting and questioning people by staying indoors - we've got to get out around them by going to where they are and helping them see who God is. We've got to introduce them to a God that does indeed care - One that sees and hears and knows what has happened to them. And, we've got to get close enough to them to help them see what He can do when they do trust Him. This won't happen by us shutting ourselves up inside so nothing bad can touch us; it will happen when we keep following Him no matter what happens.
As I write this, the rain has already come and gone. What seemed like a storm that should threaten to undo us is now a distant memory, and that's the way storms are. They come and then they go, but Jesus doesn't do that. The One who makes storms obey Him is still here; in fact, He promises to never leave you or forsake you. So the next time you wonder if He cares, look back at ALL of those other times where He showed you that He did and still does care for you.
The closer we get to Him, the more likely we are to emerge from those fearful times with Him. This isn't the kind of lesson we can learn from just reading a book; it is the kind of lesson we can learn from experience. So, the next time you and I are tempted to ask if we can just sit this one out and not go through it, let's think about what He may be trying to teach us about who He is. And if we stayed home, look what lesson we would miss out on learning!