Lord, Do You Not Care that We are Perishing?

OK, so, this is not so much a reader question as it is a reflection on a recent Bible study and current events.

Last week int he Bible study that I lead, we looked at the story of Jesus calming the storm from the fourth chapter of Mark. On the one hand, this is a very iconic story of Jesus’ power even in the beginning of his ministry. Yet, at the same time, it is a story in which the almost utter lack of detail gives us very little in the way of making sense of exactly what is going on. My conjecture in the Bible study was that it is only in comparison with other familiar tales, specifically Jonah and the healing miracles that follow it in the Gospel, that we see the true meaning arise. These, however, are reflections for another day and another post.

What jumped out at me today, in wake of another tragedy, in a month of seemingly endless tragedies, is one of the few details that the story does relate; namely, when the disciples come to Jesus, sleeping out the storm in the back of boat and ask, “Lord, do you not care that we are perishing?”

I’ll be frank and say that this is pretty ugh how I’m feeling these days. After riding out a hurricane, reading about two others, watching reports of fires and floods and now an exceeding deadly shooting in Las Vegas, I, too am beginning to feel my blood come up. As I expressed several weeks ago, I don’t really believe that God causes all of this and I don’t find a lot of traction in the notion that he is “allowing this to happen” rather than stopping it by some direct agency. What I wonder sometimes, though is if God is bothered by all of this in the same way that I am. As he seeming;y sleeps in the back of the boat, why isn’t he freaking out about this in the same way that my friends and I are?

I know that this blog is supposed to be able your questions and my answers. So, I’m a little hesitant to simply lay out my concerns without saying anything about a way through. Sadly, though, I don’t have an answer to this one. What I can offer, thought is a way that I am going to try and process this over the next little bit. I can’t guarantee any motion here. But, if you’d like to join me in thinking about things in this way, I’d love your feedback.

When I teach about faith, about belief, I frequently talk about the ways in which our belief in God mirrors our belief in one another. Specifically, our ability to trust God, to believe in God, comes from the same place within us that our ability to trust and believe in one another does. Thus, if and when we start to lose our ability to believe in one another, we will necessarily find our ability to trust and believe in God challenged.

So could it be that the challenge I’m having in believing that God is really bothered by what’s going on here among us these days has something to do with the sense I sometimes have that many of us don’t even care that we’re perishing? Could it be that there has been such a general hardening of our collective hearts around issues of life and death has caused a ripple effect in our collective belief that it makes it seem that not even God is bothered by the death of 50, or 100 or even more?

Again, I don’t know. But I’m planning on shaking Jesus awake until I get an answer.

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