Does God care?

Al Cariño
Reproduced with Permission

People of old, including those of biblical times, considered the sea as the symbol and the lair of evil forces that threaten to bring ruin to the people. To hold the sea in one's sway as in a child's hand was to be God. This was what God, in effect, revealed to Job after he questioned God because of the many evils he went through and for which he cursed the day he was born: "Who shut within its doors the sea when it burst forth from the womb?" (Job 38:8.)

It would be helpful to know that the Sunday gospel readings for this liturgical year are from Mark. His main purpose in writing his gospel was to show that Jesus was the Son of God: "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." His gospel reached its climax when during the crucifixion, the Roman official said, "Truly, this was the Son of God." Mark's account of the calming of the sea (Mk. 4:35-41) was significant in that the disciples raised the all important question, "Who can this man be?" For the answer to it would determine the direction their lives would take. The same goes for ours.

The apostles were then crossing the Lake of Galilee in a little boat when a storm brewed. Jesus was asleep. They woke Him up and remonstrated with Him saying, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" Their fear was legitimate. They interpreted Jesus' sleeping on as lack of concern for them. But to Jesus their words reveal that they did not yet know Him. After calming the sea, Jesus said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

With this miracle and His questions, Jesus was challenging the faith of the apostles. They should have understood His reason for sleeping on: He had no fear of the enemy, the sea, whom He controlled and gave orders to. In effect He was telling them was that His presence should have been enough. But as was often the case, the apostles had something else in mind. Thus they asked, "Who can this be that even the wind and the sea obey him!" The question "Who can this be?" leads into the next question, "What kind of a person is he." Over time, Jesus revealed His person to them. This self-revelation reached its culmination after the Resurrection.

Even though we are the children of Easter, God allows evil things to happen in our lives. This is one way by which He breaks into our lives. They are God's warning signals and reminders when our life is easy and comfortable. True, God comforts the afflicted. But He also afflicts the comfortable so that they will turn to Him in faith. And God is always around even though at times He may appear as being "sound asleep."

What could be the storms in our life? It could be a crisis in our married life. It could be a severe financial problem and we cannot enroll our children. It could be an alcohol or drug problem - ours or our children's. It could be the loss of a loved one. It could be discouragement or depression or even loss of faith. It could be anything - big or small.

God does not only want us to call on Him when everything seems hopeless as the apostles did during the storm. Rather, He wants us to be always in touch with Him as a child is with his parents. Just as a child always runs to his parents when he is hungry, injured at play, in need of something or when he just wants to make them know that he loves them, so does God want us to run to Him not only when we are buffeted by the storms of life but at every moment of our life. He is our Father and He wants us to treat Him as one.

Finally, the whole episode of the calming of sea began with Jesus' invitation of the apostles, "Let us go over to the other side." He did so because others also needed to hear His message of salvation. He had little time and He could not afford to wait for fair weather.

By our baptism, we are tasked to carry out Jesus' mission in our own time. He wants us to proclaim His message of salvation to others and to imbue the world with the values of His Kingdom through our words and deeds. Doing so could mean hardships and sufferings for us - rejection, abuse, insult, etc., - but He is always ready with His help, inspiration and strength. All He wants of us is to turn to Him in faith.

In short, whether it be our day-to-day personal life or our work for God (these two should not really be separated as our whole life should be at God's service), Jesus wants that He be the center of our lives. This is what faith in Him is all about. If we have this kind of faith then we can ride out any storm in our life and work and thereby experience inner peace amidst life's storms.