On Jesus’ instructions, the disciples had sent the crowd away and had set out to go over to the other side of the lake into the country of the Gadarenes (Mark 5:1). At some point in the journey, Jesus, being tired after ministering, fell asleep, head on a pillow, in the back of the boat. Everything seemed fine as they left out but then the narrative tells us that after a while “there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the [boat] so that it was now full” (Mark 4:37, KJV). The word translated storm could also have been translated squall which Webster defines as “a sudden violent wind often with rain or snow.” Despite some of the disciples being seasoned fishermen, they were overwhelmed by what had overtaken them. So much so that “they awake him (Jesus), and say unto him, ‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?'” (v. 38).
The disciples’ words reflect the feelings of some of us when we are overtaken by life’s storms. Times when it seems that the phrase “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear” is more of a cruel joke than it is our reality. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” rings true from the depths of our soul as we face our respective challenges. Does Jesus Care? Hymn-writer Frank E. Graeff put pen to paper in 1901 that reflected his thoughts on the matter. Using the same question for his title, he asked a series of questions that some of us can identify with. The first verse: “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained / Too deeply for mirth or song / As the burdens press, and the cares distress / And the way grows weary and long?” Very few of us have not travelled those paths.
It is important to note that Jesus did not sleep through the disciples’ despair, but “He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (v.39). Those of us who profess Jesus as Lord should be encouraged that He responds to the cries of the sincere, and not only does He respond, but He has all power and authority to rebuke every adverse wind in our lives and speak peace to our troubled hearts and minds. The circumstances that provoked fear in the disciples were immediately stilled by three words from the Master.
Though they woke Jesus in a moment of despair, the disciples recognized that He was the only one that could do something about the situation. Once He had calmed the storm, He looked at them and asked, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (v.40). The Amplified version puts the questions this way: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith and confidence [in Me]?” Our part is to do as Peter reminds us, “(Casting) all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7, KJV) and have confidence in Him that He can take care of those things. He will do the rest.
When feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges, how do you respond? What would He say to you? To me? My prayer is that whenever we find ourselves asking if God really cares, we can sing triumphantly with Graeff the hymn-writer: “Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares / His heart is touched with my grief / When the days are weary, the long nights dreary / I know my Saviour cares.” He really does.