Around the beginning of the 1900s, an unbeliever was reported to have said that the great goal of the 20th century would be to discover God; and yet when God would be discovered, it would be found that He does not care about human beings. It would be a bitter sorrow indeed for the world if this prophecy had proven to be true! Into countless homes and hearts, it would have brought the darkness of despair.
But the secret of hope in believing souls everywhere is that God does care! This is the one great truth that God has been striving, through all generations, to have people believe. This is the whole Gospel of redemption! The Bible presents it on every page. It is the message that Christ came into the world to declare that God loves all men, and every man. The world’s condemning unbelief has always been its refusal to believe that God cares.
But does God really care?
Is there an ear anywhere that hears the world’s cries of pain and gives attention to them? Is there a heart anywhere that is touched by the world’s sorrows, that feels with those who suffer, and that desires to give help and comfort and care? Even a stranger, when he is passing along the street and sees one suffering in pain or distress, cares and pities him. A tender-hearted man has feelings even for a suffering animal, or for a bird that has been hurt. Some great calamity occurs – the destruction of a city by an earthquake, a volcanic eruption pouring its lava streams over homes and villages, an explosion in a coal mine burying hundreds of hard workers – and a wave of pain sweeps over the world.
Human hearts are sensitive to every shade of need and experience in others. We care! And is God less compassionate than men are? Does He care for us as we care for each other? Does He give personal thought to any of us, according to our condition? Does pain or trouble in us cause pity in His heart? Does God care? Does He see the individual in the crowd? When you are passing through some great trouble, or enduring pain or adversity; does He know it, and does He care? Does He have any thought or feeling for you that is different from that which He has for the person living next door to you, who has no trouble or suffering?
Love makes distinctions!
We know how it is with our human friends. Love makes distinctions! Its interest in us is sympathetic, and it varies with our condition and our need. When we are happy, without painful conditions, our friends love us; but they feel no anxiety concerning us. Tomorrow we are sick, or suffering from some painful accident, or enduring some loss. Then they love us no more than before, but their hearts are torn with sympathy! That is what it means to care.
Is there any such experience as this in God? When we suffer, does He suffer too? Does He know that we are in any particular need? And is His feeling towards us affected by our experience?
A mother was speaking to a trusted friend about her daughter. The child had gone through a bitter sorrow, and a sore disappointment. She had not spoken of it to her mother; but she was enduring it herself, bravely and quietly, trying to be strong and cheerful. Yet the mother knew exactly what her daughter was passing through. Her love for her child entered into and shared all her child’s experiences. The mother cared.
“The Lord thinketh upon me.”
Is there ever anything like this in the heart of God as He looks upon His children and knows that they are suffering? In one of the Psalms, the poet says, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” There was wonderful comfort in this assurance. He was one man, in the great world of millions – poor and needy, surrounded by enemies and dangers, and with no human friend or helper. And yet for him to be able to say, “Yet the Lord thinketh upon me” – that was to find marvelous strength!
But was the needy and troubled soul justified in its confidence? Was it indeed true that the great God in heaven thought upon His servant on the earth, in His loneliness and suffering? Or was it only an imaginary assurance with which the Psalmist vainly endeavored to comfort himself? Did God really care for him? And does God care for us? Does He think upon us when we are poor and needy?
God does care!
When we turn to the Bible, we find – on every page – the revelation that God does care! The Old Testament is full of luminous illustrations of this truth. A great crime has been committed; a brother has been slain by a brother – and God cares. A woman is in distress because she has been cast out – and heaven cares. “The Lord hath heard thy affliction,” was the message sent to comfort her. All the Bible narrative shines with records of similar Divine care!
The Psalms are full of assurances of God’s personal interest in mankind. And Christ teaches the same truth. He speaks over and over of the Father’s thought and care. He told His disciples that God clothes the grass blades and the lilies. Amidst all His care of the world, He still finds time to attend to the feeding of the birds; and in all the events of the universe, He notes the fall of a little sparrow. Jesus assured His disciples further that the very hairs of their heads were all numbered – meaning that God personally cares for all the minutest affairs of our lives.
God’s love is personal.
Not only did Christ teach that God cares for His children, but also that He cares for them as individuals. His love is not merely a diffused kindly sentiment of interest in the whole human family, but it is personal and individual – just as the love of a mother for each one of her children. The Shepherd calls His sheep by name. Paul took the love of Christ to himself, as if he were the only one whom Christ loved: “He loved me and gave himself up for me!”
God’s love is personal. His heart lays hold upon each life. He cares for us – for me! He enters into all our individual experiences. If we suffer, He suffers. In a remarkable passage in the Old Testament, the writer – speaking of the love of God for His people – says, “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” How could the care of God for His children be expressed in a plainer or more positive way? In their afflictions, He was afflicted. When they suffered, He suffered. In their sorrows, He sorrowed.
We know how Jesus entered into all the experiences of His disciples. Their lives were His. And it is the same today! In heaven, He is touched with the feeling of His people’s infirmities. If you are weak, the burden of your weakness presses upon Him. When you are hurt, the hurt is felt by Him. If you are wronged, He endures the wrong. There is no experience of your life that He does not share. Whatever your need, your trial, your perplexity, or your struggle may be; you may be sure that He knows and cares. And when you come to him with it, He will take time – amidst all His infinite affairs – to help you as if He had nothing else in all the world to do.
God cares. His love for each one of us is so deep, so personal, and so tender, that He shares our every pain, every distress, and every struggle. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” God is our Father, and His care is gentler than a human father’s – just as His love exceeds human love. Much human care has no power to help; but when God cares, He helps omnipotently! Jesus said that when His friends would leave Him alone, yet He would not be alone – “because the Father is with me.” When human friendship does not come with any relief, then God will come. And when no one else in all the world cares, then God cares!
Have you ever struggled with doubt as to whether the Lord really cares for you? How does it change your outlook when you remember – like the Psalmist – that the Lord thinks of you, and that He has a personal interest in the minutest details of your own individual life? Let thanks be given to Him Who comes to us when no human friend can provide relief; and Who cares for us, even if no one else in the world does!
Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions in the Comments section below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory,
praying woman photo by Prixel Creative on Lightstock.com
lighthouse photo by Everaldo Coelho on Unsplash
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on our website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.