This is the third and final in my Rock Bottom posts. As I explained before these are the principles that define who we are as Christ-followers. But let me take that statement on step farther. Using the word “principle” makes it sound too cold. These are not concepts that we must analyze and mentally accept as true. These principles are really challenging us to reflect on the kind of relationship we have with God. How do we live our lives, make decisions, approach difficulties based on our understanding on the character of God. We could either approach Him closer in tenderness and affection or we could distance ourselves from Him in anger or fear. In the end, it is not about holding good doctrines but working on a relationship. This third Rock Bottoms asks, “Lord don’t you care?” We may already believe that He is willing (Rock Bottom Principle #1). We may also believe that He is trustworthy (Rock Bottom Principle #2), but know I want to know if He cares about me. Is He, in fact, a God I can approach or that I should flee? This posted originally in October 2011 and, along with the other two, will hopefully help you see that we have a God who welcomes us and that we can run towards.
Lord, Don’t You Care?
Tough times are nothing new, they happen to everyone and we Christians are not exempt. People have been facing relationship, health, financial, parenting and family struggles for millennia. (However, car and computer problems are relatively recent). So we can probably expect to continue to face difficult times as a matter of course. Jesus’ disciples faced one such situation in this story:
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?” When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?” And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey him?”
Sometimes it seems that our problems threaten to overwhelm us and drown us. Our response during these times is to panic. “HELP!” is our usual prayer. We look at life’s storms and we fear. We are completely convinced that our demise is imminent, that we will be swamped and drown. Like Jesus’ disciples we turn to the Lord in fear, in anguish, even in anger, and we say to Him, “Lord, don’t you care? We’re drowning.”
Here’s the thing. We forget who we are traveling with in this life journey. We forget that Jesus is still in the boat with us. He didn’t jump ship when things got tough. He didn’t get out of the boat and walk to shore to wait out the storm leaving us to fend for ourselves. He is still in the boat. Sure, there are times when He doesn’t seem active, that He seems to be asleep, yet the truth remains that He is still there. We have to believe Him when He says He won’t leave us. And we have to believe Him when He says we are going to the other side. In other words, He will see to it that we accomplish everything He has prepared for us to do.
Now, I don’t believe that Jesus will magically make all our troubles disappear. There’s plenty of evidence in Scripture that tells us that trials make us stronger and more Christ-like. Little comfort sometimes. But He did promise that life’s problems wouldn’t overwhelm us. He did promise that He could still the storm in our hearts and bring a supernatural peace. He did promise that somehow, in some way, even this storm would bring about some good. I don’t know how and I don’t know when. And I know that when we are in the middle of that storm, His response seems interminably slow in coming. But it comes. He shows up. Storm handled. I know it’s true because I’ve seen it happen too many times to believe otherwise.
What’s needed is not a panicked, anguished cry, but a turning within where He is present and reminding ourselves He is there. What is needed is for us to turn to Him and say, “Look, Jesus, here’s this storm coming up. Can you please speak to it and bring peace.” And if the storm is particularly strong and violent, we need to be just as persistent in turning to Him daily or even minute by minute. When we do that we will be filled with awe.