Don’t you care?
The storm was awful. The boat was threatened. Jesus slept.
The disciples said, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?” Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and told the waves to be still. And in the stillness spoke to the disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
We don’t know tone of voice.
Some of us, I think, assume that Jesus was scolding when he said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Or just a little mocking.
I’m not sure.
It could be because I just read the story where Joseph and his brothers are reunited. Joseph reveals who he is. And the brothers are terrified. He smiles, he welcomes. And in that moment, everything they thought about doing and did to Joseph, actually, everything that has shaped their lives for decades, comes to rushing to mind.
The tables are turned. What will Joseph do?
Joseph explains that God’s ways of working are more subtle, more thorough, more complex than the scheming of 10 brothers to get rid of an annoyance.
Joseph’s voice is warm and welcoming. Which is part of the terror, perhaps, of the brothers. We can deal with anger. But compassion undoes us.
And may have undone the disciples in the boat that day. If Jesus had scolded, they could have debated. But if Jesus, after scolding the wind for interrupting his nap and the waves for threatening his friends, turned to them and gently asked, “Why are you so afraid?” there was no room for debate. They instead were stunned by a clear question. Who is this? That much power and conversing with them.
My friend and colleague Brian Spahr looks at the words of the disciples as a prayer in a short and powerful book: Don’t You Care That We Are Drowning? (And Other Unexpected Prayers).