A couple of years ago, my church started a journey through scripture demonstrating the importance of not forgetting who God is in various situations. The two stories we harkened on were Jesus being asleep in the boat during the storm and Jesus’ dinner with Martha and Mary.
What stood out to me in both of those stories was 1) Jesus remained Himself in both situations and 2) the people around Him, friends and disciples, displayed uncertainty about who He was, His character and His nature.
But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:38–41)
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40–42)
The question both of these parties present to Jesus is: “do You not care?” It’s a question that, considering who He was and all that He had done up until those respective moments, could have been a bit offensive to Jesus. I mean this is the same Jesus that turned water to wine, healed a woman with the issue of blood, cursed a fig tree and raised Lazarus from the dead.
For the disciples, Jesus had physically been by their side for some time. How could you be uncertain of whether or not Jesus cared about your safety and your wellbeing?
For Martha, the question came from a slightly different place. Her question was concerning her sister choosing to be attentive to Jesus rather than be attentive to the preparation of dinner.
By virtue, Martha was not in the wrong: if you’ve invited someone over, you’ve likely committed to hosting them and most of the time, that requires you to prepare. She was doing that and Mary was not. However, asking Jesus that question seemed to be birthed out of a “this-is-the-way-things-are-supposed-to-be” mindset and she displayed an ounce of frustration with her sister for not helping out and towards Jesus for not urging Mary to help. It was misplaced frustration.
To answer this question for both situations, Jesus could have been on his Kevin Durant tip and hit them with a: “Y’all know who I am? I’m Jesus Christ.” But He, in all of His mercy and kindness and a bit of coolness, responds with grace and light, bringing them to a recognition of who He was and the importance of valuing His presence.
To the storm that raged against the disciples on the boat, He commanded peace and stillness, and the storm obliged. He then challenged the disciples to believe (at least I took it as a challenge). The challenge was to believe, trust and hope in Him no matter how dire that situation seemed. You could infer that Jesus was testing them to see how they’d respond when “life was life’ing” beyond human control. I think they failed the test but even in them doing that, He showed that not only does He care but He’s greater than the storms of life.
To Martha’s frustration, He acknowledged her hurt and what was troubling her but redirected her perspective. He pointed out that while dinner was important, He was more important and Mary had realized that. That while there were things to be done, being with Him, talking to Him and listening to Him held more value. They were going to get to the food and the cleaning — you and Him are going to get to the requirements for graduation, or the money for tuition, or the self-harming family member, or the uncertain relationship, or the job search — but what’s more important is that you get to Him.
I’m writing this cause it feels like so much has been going on in my community and the world. Duh, Jum, we’ve been in a pandemic for two years, of course, stuff is going on. Yeah, but so many big things are happening and so many “small” things are happening; life is moving on while lives are being lost, jobs are being lost while some are being gained, hearts are being broken, people are being displaced — things are just happening for everyone.
And in the midst of all these things, it’s sometimes really easy to forget who’s got you and who’s always had you. Of course, I’m talking about family and friends. But more importantly, I’m talking about Jesus. Trust me, no matter what it is, He cares.
So, this is for anyone who is in need of a reminder, Jesus is for you and not against you. He’s with you in every storm, battle, challenge and tear. He’s with you in your issues at work and at home. He cares about you, He cares about what you’re doing and going through and He’s greater than it all. Try to trust Him, try to believe and try to hope in Him.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. (Psalm 121)