Some weeks are more overwhelming than others. When physical and emotional strains build up with relentless weight and volume, we either tend to shut down, meltdown—or both! Unless we keep pouring out praise and petitions to the One who can do anything worthwhile, and unless we keep taking in His truth, our hearts can easily grow hard or bitter and cordoned off from love.
This week was one such week in which I struggled to keep my head above water through multiple challenges. In going to the Father for His solution, this is what He reminded me: our fallen natures tend to try to handle everything on our own, and when we fail at it, we sometimes blame Him for our personal struggle or lack of faith. Jesus’s disciples were no different.
When Jesus and the disciples sought to get away from the crowds, they encountered a storm in their small boat. The Scriptures say that the squall they encountered was “furious,” such that the boat was nearly swamped. Jesus, being tired from ministry, was asleep in the boat on a cushion. The exasperated disciples ran to Him with this complaint: “Teacher, don’t you care that we drown?” (Mark 4:38b, emphasis mine.) If we were to break down what the disciples were truly saying, it would sound like this: “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to die?” What an extreme accusation — “don’t you care!” Did they know the Lord of heaven and earth—the great I AM—was in the boat with them that day? Apparently not yet.
Martha made the same accusation of Jesus when He and His disciples came to visit. Martha, being the older sister and the hostess, felt it was her responsibility to provide all the culturally expected gestures of a good hostess. She wanted to do her best for Jesus, not to give them sub-average hospitality. But when she could no longer make herself or those around her (i.e. Mary) rise to her own expectations, she blamed Jesus for not caring. “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself’” (Luke 10:40a, emphasis mine). And then ambitious Martha proceeded to tell Jesus what He should do! “Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40b). Didn’t Martha know that the Son of Man came to heal the sick and reconcile the lost, not to eat and drink or lord it over others? Martha had yet to see His nature.
So it is with us. When we are overwhelmed or frustrated with many things at once, we tend to display the same attitude toward our Lord. “Lord, don’t you care that we can’t go to work, and we have no paycheck right now?” “Lord, don’t you care that we are separated from our loved ones?” “Lord, don’t you care that so many people are sick?” And to the doubting soul, that question remains, DOES He care?
Mary knew how to find the answer to this question. Through being still before Him and listening to His words, she began to recognize His heart. A simple exercise has helped me when I feel overwhelmed. As I sit before Jesus, I allow Him to show me all the things that I am overly concerned and worried about. I repent of an attitude that claims He doesn’t care. And then in my journal after every item of concern, I write in ALL-CAPS the name JESUS! In doing so, I place the matter in His hands. I acknowledge the authority of His Name. I surrender to His sovereign will and power at work in every situation, large or small. I acknowledge my own inability to do anything that will make lasting change. And I speak to my own soul, reminding myself to once more turn to Him with my whole being in total adoration. In doing so, I lean into His grace, trusting the situation and my response to Him.
May you find His sweet embrace at the end of your pen, at the end of your own efforts. As you reflect at the end of the day, may you say, “It is well with my soul.”
Today’s Bible Reading: Mark 4:36-41; Luke 10:38-42
By Julie Bransetter