Does God Care When We Are In Trouble?
“How can a God of love, who has everything under his control, let such a thing happen to me?” So asked a young woman who had suffered severe hand and foot injuries due to a fall from a horse. Her pastor was silent for a moment and then asked, “Did you suffer much pain when they put you in the cast?” “The pain was terrible,” she replied.
“Did your father allow the doctor to hurt you that way?” he further asked. She replied, “Yes, but that was necessary.” The pastor pressed on, “Did your father allow the doctor to hurt you even though he loved you or because he loved you?” “You mean to suggest that because God loves me, he allowed me to get hurt?” was her shocked response.
The pastor answered with a nod. “‘This thing is from me.’ Let these five words from God comfort you. They will furnish a silver lining to the cloud. Yours is not a case of ‘hard-luck.’ God planned this trial. If you are his child, he is preparing you for better service.”
Shakespeare said, “In sickness, let me not so much say, ‘Am I getting better of my pain; but am I getting better for it.'” Likewise, as Christians, rather than saying, “When will I be getting out of this trial?” we should learn to ask, “Am I getting better through this trial?” Sadly, that is not the response of many Christians. Their question is, “Does God care when I am in trouble?”
To answer this question from a biblical perspective, let us look at the familiar incident of Jesus calming the storm as recorded in Mark 4:35-41 and learn some truths from it.
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Following a busy day of ministering in Galilee, the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to depart from Galilee and go across the Sea of Galilee to the region of Gerasenes [35-36]. However, they encountered a severe storm during their journey .
The disciples seized with great fear rushed to Jesus, who was asleep, and questioned whether he cared for them . Jesus woke up, calmed the storm, and rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith [39-40]. Upon seeing Jesus’ power over supernatural forces, the disciples were gripped with a greater fear .
While this incident reveals Christ’s power over supernatural forces, it also teaches 4 truths concerning trials and God’s care during trials in the life of every believer.
1. Christians are not exempt from trials [vv. 35-37].
Did Jesus know the storm was coming? Of course, he did! And yet he directed the disciples into the heart of that very storm! The storm was a part of that day’s training curriculum for the disciples.
Many think storms come only due to disobedience. But that’s not always the case. Yes, Jonah ended up in a storm because of his disobedience. But the disciples here got into that storm because of their obedience to the Lord! All these disciples had left their homes and jobs to follow Jesus and yet faced many trials. It reminds us of Job, who went through trials despite being a righteous man [Job 1:8; 2:3].
Obedience and service to the Lord don’t guarantee escaping trials. As Christians, we need to understand that the Lord does not always protect us from trials but protects us through them. Sometimes, he may calm the storm. Other times, he may let the storm rage but calm his child.
Irrespective of the outcome, let’s remember: “Being with Christ in the boat, even in the midst of a storm, is far better and safer than being on the shore without Christ!”
2. The Lord may seem to be absent during trials [v. 38].
The psalmist cried, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” [Psa 10:1] and “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever” [Psa 44:23].
Likewise, it seemed as if Jesus was indifferent and uncaring during the disciples’ hour of trial, which led them to cry, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” In other words, “God, if you love me, why are you letting me go through this trial? Are you even watching?”
The answer is this: God is always watching over us. He never leaves us alone but wants us to persevere and trust in him even in the darkest hours of life.
Isaiah 50:10 reminds us, “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.”
3. Trials help us get closer to God [v. 38].
Despite their weak faith, the storm did draw the disciples closer to Christ. Even though they were wrong in how they turned to him, they still did turn to him eventually. The Lord did not rebuke them for disturbing him with their petition.
Instead, he rebuked them for being disturbed and fearful. Yes, trials can harden a person to stay away from God. However, for the child of God, trials always pull them closer to him. Trials help us grow in our love for God’s word and spend more significant time with him in prayer.
4. Trials increase our understanding of God’s attributes [39–41].
Through this experience, the disciples came away with a greater understanding of God’s love and his power over all things. We, too, can grow in such understanding through the trials of life. All of these precious truths reveal that God does care for his children at all times.
So, there we are—4 truths concerning trials and God’s care during those trials in the life of every believer.
Becoming a Christian does not guarantee a trouble-free life. As one writer put it:
“Satan has very subtly diverted our attention from our core message. Instead of proclaiming the Good News that sinners can be made righteous in Christ and escape the wrath to come, we have settled for a “gospel” which implies that God’s primary purpose in saving us is to unfold a “wonderful plan” for our lives to solve problems, make us happy in Christ, and rescue us from the hassles of this life.
Those who come to faith through the door of seeking happiness in Christ will think that their happiness is evidence of God’s love. They may even think that God has forsaken them when trials come and their happiness leaves. But those who look to the cross as a token of God’s love will never doubt his steadfast devotion to them.”
God’s children need to believe that God is worthy of our wholehearted trust even during the storms of life. If we can trust Christ to deliver us from hell and Satan, why is it hard for us to trust him with our daily problems? Faith chases fear out, and fear chases faith out.
We need to repent for our lack of persevering faith and cry out, “help me overcome my unbelief!” [Mk 9:24]. When we cry out in such a way, the good Lord, even in the darkest moments of life through his Holy Spirit, will help us experience the truth of these words, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” [Isaiah 26:3].
Let us remember: Trials because of obedience always ensure Christ’s presence with us! And when Christ is with us, we can genuinely smile at the storm and confidently say, “Yes, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does care for me even when I’m in trouble!”