A story from the Bible that never fails to offer me comfort is the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana in John 2.
The way that this story goes is that Jesus, His disciples, and His mother have all been invited to a wedding. While at this wedding, the wine runs out — which was an extremely embarrassing thing to have happen in a culture that so highly valued hospitality.
So, Mary comes to Jesus, asking Him to take care of this problem. Jesus, upon first hearing his mother’s request, does not seem particularly motivated to do anything about it.
He says, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”
And really, this initial response to Mary makes sense. I mean, Jesus is the Messiah. The Son of God. The One who Israel has been waiting for to come and to redeem them.
There is a lot of very important stuff on His plate. Stuff that is far more significant than there not being enough wine at a wedding. Sure, the relatives of the couple who were hosting the wedding would probably get gossiped about for such a social faux-pas. And yeah, some guests at the wedding might form some unpleasant opinions about the wedding hosts based on this.
But as painful as social judgment between neighbors can be, an etiquette issue kind of pales in comparison to Jesus’s mission of reconciling the world to God.
And yet, Mary isn’t having it. Jesus might be the Messiah, but He is still her son, daggone it — and sons listen to their mothers. He will do something about this wine disaster.
So, after a terse comment from Mary, Jesus changes His mind. He ends up saving the day by turning some water into wine. And the kicker is that it was apparently such good wine that the steward at the wedding remarked to the groom: “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
There are a lot of beautiful theological thoughts out there about why Jesus changed His mind and performed this miracle. Some people think it was a symbolic thing — that the abundance of the wine represents the kind of abundant life that God wants us to have.
Others see a connection between the transformed water and the kind of transformed world that God desires for His creation. Both of these takes, as well as many others out there, speak some incredible truth about the nature of God, and they paint us a glorious picture of what Shalom looks like in the world.
But what has been speaking to me lately about this story — and this is where that sense of comfort that I initially mentioned comes in at — is that the little things that matter to us also matter to God.
God cared about those wedding hosts and their fears of becoming social pariahs. He cared about their need to belong to and to have connection with the people who they loved.
God cares about the parents who have been doing summer parenting since March and are at the end of their ropes. God cares about the people who are trying to stay at home as much as possible, but who also desperately need some social interaction. God cares about the young people who are disappointed about not getting to have graduation ceremonies, proms, and summer camps.
God cares about the kids who miss seeing their friends at school. God cares about the people who have been working from home for months and whose work-life balance is totally off kilter, and they are exhausted because of it. God cares about the elderly people who are feeling confined and lonely. God cares about the people out there who just need a vacation. God cares about the mom with the newborn who won’t stop crying, and she is at her wit’s end.
Bottom line is, that if it affects your physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual well-being, then it matters to God.
In this complicated time of COVID-19, racial injustice, political anxieties, and general uncertainty, a lot of us are struggling emotionally. There is just too much being thrown onto us too fast. We are stretched too thin. We are stressed, and distressed.
We are lonely, but at the same time — we want left alone for just 5 seconds. We are finding joy in the mundane, but we are also cranky and anxious. We
want things to be different, but we also want them to go back to the way that they were. Things are changing. The ground is moving beneath our feet. Many of us are feeling lost in the wilderness.
And it’s tempting to give in to the chaos, and to think that God can’t possibly care about any of this stuff. That He’s taking prayer requests from people who are deathly sick with COVID-19, and from people with real problems — so there’s no way that God gives a crap about any of our emotional or mental health stuff.
But He does. God does.
God takes a holistic approach to loving us. He cares about the whole person, and all of the stuff that is affecting us. If you are struggling right now in the face of all this stuff, and you bring your cares to God, He will not dismiss you or ignore you. He will be with you. He will guide you. He will give you comfort. And He will help.
You might not receive answers to all of your prayers in the exact way that you expected — the water in your life might not turn to wine quite in the way that you pictured it — but God will help, because He cares.
So, friends, I encourage you to not forget, as we trek through a difficult year, that we can depend on God. Know that we can rest in the fact that God loves us deeply, that if it matters to us, then it matters to Him — and that things will eventually be OK.
Remember that we can trust that God will be with us throughout the process. Remind yourself that we can have hope in the beauty, abundance, and restoration to come. Stake that claim that we can take comfort in the way that God shows up for us and takes care of us — turning water into wine for us.
Keep holding on, take the time to sit in God’s love and in His presence, and don’t give in to that little voice telling you that God doesn’t care.
He cares so much more than we can fathom — even about the little things.
Hannah Mullikin Lutz is the Pastor of Ada Chapel Friends Meeting.
Weekly columns are provided to the News Journal by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.