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From the editor: "Carest thou not" (Mk 4.38)

J Grant

It had been and long and arduous night. The instruction of the Lord Jesus to enter the ship and pass over to the other side would have created no anxiety in the minds of the Twelve. Four of them at least were accomplished fishermen with long hours of experience in these waters. But that night was different. Never had they encountered winds of such ferocity, never had they been in such peril. Their skills were tested to the extreme, but all to no avail. The seas, whipped up by the storm, poured relentlessly into the boat until the skills of experienced seamen were exhausted and all hope seemed to have gone.

But the Master was asleep! How could it be that He was unaware of their danger? How could He possibly sleep under such trying conditions? With fear gripping their hearts, exhausted, they cried to Him, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?".

So it is today that there are saints who are experiencing times of trouble and difficulties, some of which they never imagined they would need to face. They have called to Him and no response can be discerned. They have opened their hearts to Him and nothing has changed. They have wept and their tears still fall. The heavens seem like brass. No answer has been heard. It is almost as if He is asleep and they raise their voice with the despairing words, "Carest thou not?".

At the call from the troubled disciples the Master rises from sleep. At a rebuke from Him the winds cease, and at a word from Him the seas lose their fury. A "sleeping Christ" was still in control. Even when we do not observe the indicators that we wish to see, or receive the answers that we wish to hear, He is still master of the situation. When we despair that He does not do as we ask, we have to learn that He will lead in His way.

But the Lord now asked a question that struck at the disciples’ heart: "How is it that ye have no faith?". No faith! But Peter would later state in His presence, "Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee" (Mk 10.28). Did that not show faith? How then is it that they had no faith on that dark storm-tossed night?

Should these disciples have been asked if they believed that the Lord would one day rule His kingdom from Jerusalem, eleven of them at least would have raised a resounding "Yes". The promises that He made would be fulfilled: of that they had no doubt. Similarly today, Christians have no difficulty in having faith in the words of the Lord regarding these great events that have yet to be. But what about the present? In this life difficulties beset us, troubles overwhelm us, the way ahead looks difficult to determine, and our minds may be repeatedly asking "Why" as to what has happened and "Where" and "How" as to the direction in which we should go. The sorrows and trials of life surround us and faith at times seems to fail. So it is, in a way, easier to have faith for what the Lord has stated will happen in the future, than to have the faith that we need to get through today. For such days there are times when the Lord can challenge our hearts as He did those of the Twelve: "How is it that ye have no faith?".

When we pray and the way we seek does not open up, when the circumstances we ask Him to change remain the same, we must remember that His knowledge of the future and of what would be the consequence of what we seek are known to Him. He does not always lead us through days without care or anxiety. When we seek to linger in prayer before Him for long periods and find that we run out of words, or even fall into the embrace of sleep, we feel that we have failed Him. But if the heart and motive be true He will pass no censure for such "failings".

Let us remember that He who is the God of the promises for tomorrow is the God of the promises of today. Our faith in Him for the former should be as strong for the circumstances of today. He who cares for our tomorrows cares just as strongly for our todays.


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