And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Carest thou not that we perish?
It can be difficult for us to speak about moments of faithlessness. We know that we are supposed to hold out hope no matter what storms arise, but frankly there are times where that seems an impossible thing to do.
Ryan Green, who chronicled the experience of losing his son in the interactive story That Dragon, Cancer, spoke about such a moment of doubt in his own life. He pointed to this same plea of the disciples when they woke Jesus during the storm. Their question was not whether Jesus could save them, it was whether he would. Ryan expressed that he always believed God had the power to save his son, but was not sure that God cared to. He didn’t question that God saw his suffering, only if God was going to do anything about it.
Sometimes it isn’t the actual storm that hurts us as much as the sense of God’s abandonment.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Perhaps the Lord appeared to be “sleeping” on the imminent threat that faced his disciples…but he was still with them. Carest thou not that “we” perish is an inclusive “we,” for if the boat had gone down he would have been going with it, too!
Yes, sometimes we do feel alone, abandoned by God. Jesus experienced this, too, while dying on the cross. Whenever we feel totally alone, Christ sits totally alone with us. We cannot feel his presence, because that would break the necessary illusion, but his presence is still there.
Speaking for myself, that means a lot. Sometimes I wish that my trials could be taken from me, but if they can’t, I just need to know that someone is sitting with me in the hurt. I must remember that at times God asks me to suffer the appearance of His absence, but never the actuality of it. He permits me to feel alone, but never does He ask me to actually be alone.