Beyond Caring

Okay, I admit it. Today I am angry with God. I was so excited at all the things He had been doing, but now it seems that everything is blocked or diverted. All my prayer and faithfulness might go to waste. Why doesn’t God intervene to keep the vision on course? We could be half way to revival by now. Doesn’t He care that it could all be lost?

“Doesn’t He care?” The words bounced off God and echoed back at me. They reminded me of two occasions when Jesus’ followers said the same thing:

[Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)

[Mary] was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” (Luke 10:39-40)

In each case Jesus seems ignorant or unconcerned about apparently urgent and important issues. We can imagine the disciples shaking Jesus awake with frightened and frustrated voices. “Grab a bucket, and bail!” Martha probably burst through the kitchen door flapping her apron, somewhere between tears and a temper tantrum.

But when we look closely, Jesus took caring to a new dimension. In the storm, Jesus’ simple word calmed the cause of everyone’s anxiety and revealed His authority and glory. Paddling hard or sloshing out the excess water would have won Him a slap on the back like any other responsible man. By stubbornly refusing to behave as we would like Him to He introduces us to heaven. That’s His way of working. Later, He walked unflinching to the cross because He knew resurrection followed it. We want our lives and visions to unfold like clockwork; He prefers miracles. Of course He cares about storms, but He goes beyond our caring.

Jesus did not seem to care much at all about Martha’s concerns. Instead, He put them in context. To rest in the presence of the Lord is top priority; all the worries of everyday life are unnecessary compared to that. Mary had it right.

It takes a lot to tear ourselves away from our plans and core concerns and focus on responding to life the way Jesus taught us. Laying down our instinct to arrange life “just so” is hard. Wanting to avoid storms and suffering is natural, but not always God’s way. It’s right to alert Jesus to turmoil and injustices, but don’t expect Him to deal with them the way you want Him to. Our anger at God is a sign that we need to trust Him at a new level or allow Him to rearrange our priorities.

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