“Don’t You Care?”

by DanWolgemuth on May 29, 2020

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (Mark 4:38, NLT)

“Don’t you care?”

Desperation amplified their voices to a shout. Above the roar of the storm.

Unfiltered.

“Don’t you care?”

The reality is that for many of us, we’ve been wearing masks for years. We muffle or mute the raw questions that course through our veins, in order to polish our pain. In order to make our fear more polite, more appropriate, less abrasive.

Consequently… less honesty. And with less honesty, comes less healing, less peace, less comfort… and yes, less trust.

We’re in a storm. Waves crashing. Water breaching the bow.

100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., $25 trillion in national debt, and our credit card is still out. Unemployment surging. Wall Street lurching. A vaccine that seems too far away. And then, hatred on video. Image bearers of the living God treating others, treating the vulnerable, treating the unempowered like rubbish.

Perhaps it’s time to lift a line from the disciples’ script…

“God, don’t you care?”

“Jesus, are you going to sleep through our pain, through our chaos, through our panic, through our outrage?

Were you napping when a virus caught a flight from Wuhan to Rome, or Seattle, or Brazil, or…

Were your eyes shut when the resources required to put food on the tables of our most vulnerable were drying up?

Were you sleeping when George Floyd was gasping for breath?

Don’t you care?”

A whisper becomes a shout. An inquiry becomes an accusation.

Then Jesus.

First, a calming word. “Peace, be still.”

But a different kind of peace…

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Peace in the storm. Calm in the chaos.

The fact is that Jesus cared. He cared deeply. He cared personally. He cared sacrificially.

He cared for their souls. He cared for their faith. He provoked the storm to deepen their trust.

On a calm sea, they trusted their own skill. In a gentle storm, they applauded their own craft. When the waves swelled they self-confidently celebrated their own expertise…

But on a treacherous sea, they released their grip on their own competence and clung with an iron grip to Jesus.

He cared. Deeply. About their soul. About their eternal destiny. About the ability to face a troubled and hostile world.

Unvarnished questions invite unconstrained hope. Masks off. Uncensored honesty produces immovable faith.

He cared. He cares.

In the storm. During the virus. On the streets of Minneapolis.

While we’re shouting at the top of our lungs… “Don’t you care?”

In love, Jesus responds… “Why are you afraid?”

Our question meets His in mid-flight. His question subdues our fear. His question reminds us…

He cares.

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“The Blame Game”

by DanWolgemuth on May 15, 2020

Don’t be fooled, blame is not a game. But whatever it is, we’re seeing it perfected in our current culture.

The flaming arrows of accusation fly. The shield of denial is thick.

Headlines tilt. Interviews slant.

And we peddle blame like an ice cream truck pushes Slushies in the middle of July.

Our appetite for gossip is insatiable. We pick the buffet that best suits our hunger, and we pull up a seat with a fork in hand.

Opportunity and vulnerability breed exploitation, not compassion. We pile on, because it’s easier than extending grace.

Whatever shared energy surfaced at the beginning of this global crisis, has long since been exhausted. An open hand is now a clinched fist. Even within the body of Christ.

Self-preservation fuels the engine of one camp, economic recovery ignites combustion on the other. Both carry gasoline cans around the open flame.

Honest dialog. Thoughtful rhetoric. Humble understanding. Honest confession… never. Not only endangered, but extinct.

An admission of error, or miscalculation, or exaggeration, or malice, or abuse of power… political suicide. Weakness. Unacceptable. You either stay and fight, or you leave in shame. There is no middle ground… or rather, no higher ground to be found.

Then I read this…

In 1 Samuel 25. The story of an arrogant buffoon by the name of Nabal. This man shows overt disdain and hatred and disregard for David, God’s anointed. In essence, Nabal picks a fight with God. “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men.

Enter Abigail. Nabal’s wife. A woman of grace and wisdom and honor. She intercepts David and his troops on their way to righteously annihilate this man and his people. And her language, from her knees, in her meeting with David… “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord.” And later… “Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way.”

Abigail. My new hero. My new model.

As I read this account, I felt the weight of my own condemnation, my own rush to judgment, my own propensity to dismiss or disregard.

I confess. I judge without knowledge. I condemn without wisdom. I ignore without justice. I walk up to the buffet, to my buffet, with fork in hand.

How lazy. How arrogant. How damaging.

Abigail. Shouldering the blame, to facilitate restoration. Not peace at any cost, but unity at the expense of personal pride.

Jesus. His naked skin against a splintering cross… “forgive them…” Hatred opened the wound, and courageous grace sutured it together.

Blame is not a game. It’s toxic. It’s the well-worn tool in Satan’s toolbox.

Grace is not silent acquiesce. It’s not overmatched weakness. Grace is the power of God, unleashed on the comprehensive sin of all people. Grace empowers the advocate for justice, even as it extends an olive branch toward repentance. Grace is not a doormat, it’s a bridge.

And it’s in short supply.

I want to learn from Abigail. I want to be like Jesus.

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Time to Unmute

May 8, 2020

Zoom. A word that used to mean momentum. A word often associated with little boys and Matchbox cars. Today, Zoom is a video lifeline to faces and images and shared documents, and communication. It is a pathway. On many of the Zoom calls I participate in, I am either the Host or Co-Host. This hierarchy […]

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“The Boss of Me…”

May 1, 2020

Nick Parker was a friend of our boys during a season in our lives when we lived in Franklin, Tennessee. He lived about a block from our house, and would often wander our way to play in our cul-de-sac, or down by a small pond behind our home. Nick was athletic, even as a first […]

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From Wuhan to Bethlehem

April 24, 2020

6900 miles. That’s how far it is from Wuhan, China to Denver. 6900 miles from the genesis of a global disease. A genesis that will be the topic of discussion and speculation and accusation and fury for years to come. The stuff of theories and books and movies. A virus. Small. Contagious. And swift. 6900 […]

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Re…

April 17, 2020

Re… cession. We’re all hearing it. Perhaps the worst in my lifetime, and likely yours. Global economic loss. Unemployment soaring. Uncertainty with tsunami force. Governments pressing into when to re… start economic activity. Daily lives, now re… coiling. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us… (Ephesians […]

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The tale of two naps…

April 10, 2020

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” (Mark 4:37–38a, ESV) A nap. Jesus, in the back of the boat. Storm raging. Disciples desperate. Uninterrupted rest. And going a little farther he fell […]

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Where are the nine?

April 3, 2020

The 17th chapter of the book of Luke records this amazing story of compassion, as Jesus not only ventures into close proximity with a collection of unclean lepers, but then He extends His miraculous healing power to them. Ten lepers who stood at a distance… a social distance with a stamp of shame. In that […]

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Stimulus

March 27, 2020

Two trillion dollars to propel us as rapidly through this crisis as possible. Rocket fuel to get us to the other side. Questions loom… is it enough? Will it impact the places where it is needed most? Questions without answers. But the rationale is clear. Get us through this. Fast. Numb the pain. Flatten the […]

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“Follow me.”

March 20, 2020

Two words. It’s what Jesus said at the beginning of his three-year ministry, and it was a part of the closing communication he left with the Apostle Peter. “Follow me.” His closest companions spent three years trying to figure him out, but his invitation and instructions were clear… “Follow me.” Following into the storm. Following […]

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