Jesus, Do You Not care?

Pastor Rachel B. Livingston 

 I. The Alarming Title

The title of the sermon is quite alarming, quite jarring.  Its troublesome because we want to always believe that Jesus cares, we want to always think that Jesus loves us and is concerned with us.  We don’t want to ever stand in front of Jesus and proclaim we are displeased with him, dissatisfied, or worried that he doesn’t hear us, because our faith tells that Jesus is always loving and caring.  How dare we ask Jesus if he cares, because the resounding answer to that is of course, yes, of course he does.  But when we are in the midst of the storm, when we are in the eye of the storm, when the waves are beating upon us, even if we don’t admit it, even if we don’t vocalize it, don’t state those words, in the midst of the storm beating upon us, we may think and wonder, Jesus are you there? And do you care? Great teacher, great messiah, do you not care? Do you not care that the storm is beating upon us and we are perishing, we are suffering? Jesus, do you not care?
I mean if we really consider the storm, we can see the dark clouds slowly roll in, they surround us in darkness and the brightness of the sunshine is blocked out by the heavy clouds.  The rumblings of thunder can be heard from far off as they gradually come closer, the loud sound disorients us and frightens some of us as we never know exactly when we might hear it, and aren’t aware it’s coming.  The loud boom of the thunder disrupts the peace that we have created for ourselves.  As the storm rolls in, lightening lights up the sky letting us know the storm’s power, so we run for cover because we know that lightening brings more than just light, but the possibility of destruction and certain death if it gets close. And then as the storm arrives in the midst of the darkness, the boom of the thunder and the lightening, the rain begins to fall, it beats upon us with power and might, the wind blows and causes distress.  In the midst of the fullness of the storm we re scared, we are worried, we are disoriented, and things don’t make any sense. We are hurting, struggling and suffering as the storm continues to beat upon us with reckless abandon. And the storm is hanging above us.  We know that in theory the storm will end, but as we sit in it we pray for the time it will end, the struggle seems so long and we look for some sense of relief, some break in the wind, some rolling back of the clouds, some glimpse of sunshine or at least the calm of twilight.

II. To Be In The Eye Of The Storm


  Our scripture reminds us what it is like to be in the eye of the storm and not know where to go and where to turn.  It shows us what it is like to be so focused on the storm, in a panic, where it feels like God doesn’t seem to know the severity of the storm we are enduring.  In our frantic moment of distress, we tremble as the words struggle to come from our mouth, Jesus, do you not care?  In our story within the scripture, the disciples had gotten into the boat, leaving the crowd behind, the crowd who just had to see the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus. As they left the crowd Jesus told them they are going to cross the Sea of Galilee, they are going to ride out across the sea to arrive on the other side.  And as they out on their journey, while on the sea, suddenly the waters managed to go from very calm to rough and violent, which is something that frequently happened on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were completely frightened and many probably believed that at the quick emergence and violent winds of this storm was surely caused by a demon.  They were panicking, so they turned to the only one they knew could save.  They turned to Jesus, the one who claimed to be the Messiah they were waiting for, the one who claimed to be the Son of God.  They turned to Jesus and somehow in the midst of the storm he is sleep, he is relaxing, resting in the stern on a cushion, in a place of comfort, not disturbed by the wind, the rain, the thunder, and the lightening around him that has unsettled everyone else.  Jesus, do you not care that we are perishing? Do you not care that this storm is beating upon us? Do you not care that this storm will likely cause our certain death? Lord are you even paying attention?
            In the midst of the storms of life, we can look to our biblical tradition to see how storms can be responded to.  We look to David, and we see that he said, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” It is a whispering spirit of hope, a testimony of a man who knows what it means to be in the depths of the valley of sorrow and who had knocked at the doors of the shadows of death.  This is the words of someone who had been stained with sin, and yet now able to rejoice because his sin is forgiven and pardoned.  David is bold enough to know that even in the darkness of the storm, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. We continue to see the optimism of David in our Psalter as David continually uplifts that even in the midst of the storm, God is our help and our resource as he says, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”  David is saying that in the heaviness of the storm we can always turn to God. 

 III. David In the Midst of The Storm 

             Surely, David can understand the hope in the words of these psalms that he shared with the world.  David probably more so than anyone else. David had been in battle with a bear, he was placed in combat all by himself with the giant Goliath on behalf of the army of Israel. David was someone who greatly loved Saul and his son Jonathan and yet was responded to with Saul’s hatred and violence. David had been chased out of town by his own son. David had many enemies and yet in the midst of all of this, David knew he had a friend.  He knew he had a larger, supreme entity that he could look to, a larger God who was mighty over all things, who was merciful, yet mighty and eternal, a stronghold that can always be trusted, a God he could call friend.   And so, in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the pain, in the midst of rolling through the eye of the storm, David wants us to know that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning because the Lord is always a stronghold in the times of trouble.

            And while we want to hold on to the words of David, and we know that the words of David to be true, but we must admit in midst of the storm, that is easier said than done.  In the midst of our storm, in the midst of our panic we wonder where God is.  We are so focused on the storm around us, and the things we see, the horrific things within the storm, make us scared.  And it is hard to see where God is.  And we say, “Jesus, do you not care?”  We have searched for the end of the storm and the tragedy has rocked us to the core.  We don’t know what is happening.  So, we ask how long will this last? How long will the storm last?  How long?

 IV. Our Storm 

            But we know this intimately, we know this fully because we are living in the midst of the heaviness of the storm.  We are living in the land of storm beating upon us.  We are living in the storm when our current situation has kept us apart for so long that we are disjointed, we don’t know what is going on with one another.  We are living in a storm when we are functioning in a way that separates us from one another, where we have become us versus them rather than a collective people of God.  We are us versus them when we become the old school versus the new school when the reality is that our history is the essence that informs our now, it is rooted in us and our being, it flows through us with such richness, and the new teaches us how to adapt and how to grow.  Each come together to create a more full picture of the whole people of God.  The reality is that the old and the new must come together showing the power of the Holy Spirit to unite us as people.  But the storm tries to separate us. We are in the storm of us versus them when we dislike one another for things that we have no control over like gender and race.  We are in a storm when things within our church are transitioning and they aren’t what we knew it used to be, what we expected it to be, the music is not the same and the sanctuary isn’t filled.  Things are changing, and what we see around us is a storm, a storm that brings us discomfort. We are not loving, caring, and considerate of others and their feelings or opinions.  We are in a storm when we argue and are at each other’s throats.  We are in the very eye of the storm when as we work to come back together things just don’t feel right, when we feel like there is something we are missing, when there is something in the air that we just can’t name.  We are in the depths of the eye of the storm.  We are in the eye of the storm when the world seems to be filled with hatred and violence and the whole world feels its effects. We are in the storm when the weight of our lives is so stressful that we don’t know where to turn.   WE ARE IN THE DEEPEST parts of the storm.  And like the disciples who were filled with fear, watching Jesus in his comfort unphased by the storm they were in, we proclaim Jesus Do You Not Care? Aren’t you going to wake up and save us? How long will you continue to rest when we are out here flailing? Even if we don’t speak the words out loud, sometimes in the midst of the storm we are so focused on what is happening around us that in the storm we feel like God is not there, we feel like God is far away, we feel like God is distant or watching idly by.  So, we ask how long will this last? And quite frankly we ask Jesus, do you not care?

 V. Jesus Is With Us In The Storm 

            But we see from our scripture that Jesus is there throughout the storm.  Jesus took control of the storm, took control of what surely seemed like it came from the pits of hell and had the essence of a supernatural spirit.  Jesus stood in the midst of the storm, rebuked the wind and told the sea, “Peace. Be Still.”  We see right here that Jesus is all the things he says he is, he is the messiah, he is the all powerful one who stands in the midst of the storm with us and tells the storms to cease, tells the seas to calm, halts the winds from blowing.  Jesus is the one who can rescue us in the midst of danger, persecution, and destruction.  We feel like God has abandoned us in the storm, but God has never left us.  The whole world is in God’s hands.

            So, we remember the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of trouble.  We remember that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  We know that in the midst of the storm Jesus is the solid rock that we lean on, the source that give us strength.  So, in this moment, as we stand within the storm we must put our trust in Christ, we must lean into Christ, we must trust that God is with us, we have to intentionally connect with Christ in prayer and lean into his will.  We must allow Jesus to transform our ways.  We must allow Jesus to live in us.  We must lean on Jesus.  Because when we put our trust in Christ, when we put our faith in him, when we put our hand in the hand of Jesus, we will be comforted in Christ.  But we also know that Jesus will calm the storm, tell the winds to cease to blow, and calm the very seas that have caused us so much turmoil.  But what we are assured of is that when Christ is in the ship of life with us, he will usher us through the storm and demand the storm to calm.  So, we are invited, to put our hand in the hand of Jesus Christ to travel the journey of life, because any road with Jesus is safer than any known path.