Where is God?
Someone once asked me what is your greatest fear? I remember, without batting an eyelid, responding, “Swimming”.
Thanks to the cajoling of my family, I decided to take the plunge, literally. My experience during my first few swimming lessons, in a nutshell, let me say was – terrifying. I ensured that I always held on to the ‘life-saving’ handle bar that surrounded the swimming pool. Finally with great reluctance and apprehension, I began to kick the water with my feet. After awhile my coach, thinking that I have now learnt the basic of basics insisted I let-go of the handle bar and begin to float and move forward. Mustering all the courage within me, I leapt into the water. Now once inside the water, fear began to grip me. I panicked. I desperately tried reaching out to the handle bar, unable to find it, I began splashing around, managing to grab onto the side wall, I pulled myself out of the water. Having gained my balance, I looked around for my coach. Surprise of surprise, she was watching me all along! The first question that crossed my mind was “don’t you care that I am drowning?” This was the same question asked to Jesus by his disciples on a boat that was sinking, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”(1)
It was an evening to remember when Jesus got into his disciple’s boat and said, “let us go over to the other side”(2). In obedience to their master, they set sail only to find themselves caught in the midst of a violent storm. The storm was so fierce that the waves began to break over the boat. Expert fisherman they were, but yet they found themselves no match for the furious storm. Their boat was on the verge of sinking.
The disciples, looking around in helplessness notice Jesus sleeping soundly on a “cushion” in the stern. The frightened men roused him saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”. Just as the question that crossed my mind that day – “Don’t you care that I am drowning?” – although I was just merely in 4 ½ feet deep water.
Oftentimes like the disciples, we too ask similar questions to God:”Don’t you care that my loved one is dying?”, “Don’t you care that I lost my job?”, “Don’t you care that I am sick?”, “Don’t you care that I am suffering?” or “Lord, don’t you care about me?”. Many a time we think that if Jesus is in our boat, storms will never arise. It did for the disciples and it does for us today. Fierce winds of fear will lash, bellows of doubt will blow and the gales of helplessness will toss us around. Where is God in the midst of our suffering? On that dark night in the midst of the howling winds and the fierce storm, Jesus stood up and said, “Peace be still”(3). The elements of nature, wind and water bowed down in obedience to His command.
Digory , the young boy in C.S. Lewis’ story (4) was seeking for a cure for his dying mother. He pleaded with the great Lion, Aslan, “But please, please – won’t you – can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he (Digory) had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life”. C.S. Lewis narrates, “For the tawny face (of Aslan) was bent down near his own and wonder of wonders great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself”.
In the midst of our storms, in the midst of our assailing doubts and fears, we have the assurance that God cares for us. He has the power to calm our storms but even if doesn’t, we still have the assurance of His presence that will give us peace in the midst of our storms.
Where is God in the midst of suffering? He is right there, with you.
(1) Mark 4:38
(2) Mark 4:35
(3) Mark 4:39
(4) C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew