February 15, 2009

Caring Grace

Mark 4:35-41; Luke 10:38-42

Teacher, don’t you care … ?

—  Mark 4:38

The gospels record two times when Jesus was asked, “Don’t you care?” No doubt many others have asked or at least thought the same question.

After a grueling day, Jesus and his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee on a seemingly pleasant evening. While Jesus sleeps in the stern, a furious squall threatens their lives. The terrified disciples shout, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

On another evening Jesus is welcomed into Martha’s home, but soon she focuses on the meal, not on the Master. When Martha sees her sister Mary listening to Jesus, she gets upset and says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?”

The disciples are swamped by the weather; Martha is swamped by her work. The disciples are drowning; Martha is distracted. The disciples’ furious squall is external; Martha’s is internal.

And Jesus cares deeply for both. He rebukes the wind and tells the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” He addresses Martha: “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

Mark notes further that “the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Jesus, whom even the wind and the waves obey, is almighty God, and he offers us his caring grace. Shall we rest in his caring arms today?

God of all grace, teach us today to live calmly in your caring grace. Help us to listen when you speak to us. Help us to trust you when storms swirl around us. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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