Does God Care About Us?
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
The question is a foolish one for those who know and believe that Jesus is Lord over all and that He died for our sins. But even the most ardent believer can have moments of doubt and fear.
What concerns you? What are you worried about? What do you fear? Are you losing sleep over anything? Is some negative circumstance occupying most of your conversation? Does it seem like God is far from helping you? Or maybe you think He is not concerned about what concerns you. If any of these represent you, there is a better way.
Jesus and the disciples are in a boat crossing over from Capernaum to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Prior to this He had been teaching and healing multitudes of people, casting out unclean spirits and revealing His ministry as the Son of God by signs, wonders and miracles. At the end of their day in Capernaum He said to the disciples, let’s go over to the other side.
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.” Mark 4:35-36
After a time at sea suddenly there arose a storm and the boat they were in began to be tossed about violently but the waves and the wind. At the time Jesus was asleep on a pillow in the back of the boat. The disciples came to Him terrified with fear that they were all about to drown, and they woke Him up and said, “Master, don’t you care if we perish?”
So, Jesus got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still,”and the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But Jesus then turned to the disciples and asked, “Why were you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?
“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:38-41
In Mathew’s gospel he recounts this same event with Jesus saying, “O you of little faith.” It is not certain if Matthew is recounting the same incident as Mark particularly since the events leading up to it are quite different, however it is generally accepted that Matthew, Mark and Luke all speak of the same incident.
“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” Matthew 8:25-27
In Luke’s gospel he records this event with Jesus, saying “Where is your faith?”
“And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:24-25
So, here we have three accounts of the same event and three slightly different statements of what Jesus said to the disciples, but all point to essentially the same idea. Jesus directs them to an examination of their lack of faith in response to the storm, the wind and the waves.
In each of these cases, How is it you have no faith? O you of little faith, and Where is your faith?,there is the inescapable fact that they did not act in faith at all concerning their situation. Each of these questions addresses the issue from a slightly different perspective, but all are true. How is it you have no faithimplies that they should have had faith. They should have considered that if they were with God in that boat there is nothing that would have been impossible for them because of His presence with them.
O you of little faith implies that even the degree of faith they had was of no use to them if it would not prompt them to act on it. What good is having littleor greatfaith if it is only in theory or theology? If your faith is such that you can’t put any weight on it, it is essentially no faith at all. Faith, true faith at its simplest is capable of accomplishing in us all that God has ordained. Faith is indeed the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
The evidence of things not seen is the knowledge of the character and integrity of the one in whom the faith is placed. We have faith in the words of a loved one, a spouse, a trusted pastor or teacher because we know and believe that they love us and have only our best interest at heart. Most assuredly we have faith in God because He cannot lie. What He has promised He will do.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior…” Titus 1:1-3
“…and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:21
And finally,Where is your faith?suggests that because they had been eyewitnesses to more than enough demonstrations of Jesus’ authority and power, that should have caused them to at least try to imitate Him by exercising His authority in the midst of this situation, since that is what He had been teaching them to do from the beginning of His ministry with them. But, now when there was an opportunity to exercise faith based in what they had been taught, they panicked and cried out desperately, accusing Him of not caring if they lived or died. So He confronts them, “Where is your faith?”
Now, we know that the just shall live by faith. It is our bread and butter for life, so to speak. But we know this because we have His written Word to inform us and we have the Holy Spirit in us, who is our teacher and the one revealing to us the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom of God. They did not have that, but they had the WORD Himself there in the boat with them so they were without excuse.
Faith in God is first. Then faith in the integrity of His promises is like it. Each goes hand in hand, because God and His Word are one. So then, why are men so soon shaken in their faith? When situations change or they start hearing forecasts of doom and gloom they immediately panic, become overcome with fear and expect the worst kinds of outcomes for themselves and even for others. Instead of stopping, taking a deep breath and then speaking life and hope into the situation, they start rehearsing with their imaginations and their words the worst possible outcomes.
But, Jesus has taught us that every circumstance in life that we will ever face is subject to the authority of the Word of God. Nothing is greater than God and no power is greater than His Word. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the Word of God is forever. [Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33]
It is noteworthy too, that in each of these instances Jesus did not chide one of them individually for not having faith. He chided all of them for not appropriating their collective faith. He could have said it this way, why didn’t you all speak Words of faith into this situation.
Fear comes by hearing and believing that there is no hope, no greater opposing force to counter the threat of pending doom.
“Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” Luke 8:18
The insidious nature of fear is that it can and often does come upon us without notice and we find our selves responding to thoughts and words about things that have not happened and in most instances will not happen, but the fear of them happening can have a negative effect on us physically, mentally and emotionally despite the fact that what we fear has not happened.
The question, then is how do we avoid or counter fear when it comes?
The key factor is love. When we know God loves us and we know that His love will always manifest itself for our good, then we can have assurance that what He has promised concerning our wellbeing and peace will be available to us all the time. The active weapon against fear is faith and trust in the love of God. Fear maybe speaking to the contrary, but the Word of God will always overcome it.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
Faith is the assurance that something desired will be realized. Fear is the anxiety of uncertainty with an expectation of undesired evil.
But, let those who are wise put their faith in God. He will never fail us. Does He care? He has proven His love by dying for our sins while we were still sinners. God loves us so much that He gave the most priceless gift in all creation. His love has given us all.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32