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Does God Care?
J. R. Miller, 1912
About the beginning of this century, an unbeliever was reported to have said that the mission of the twentieth century would be to discover God, and when God should be discovered, it would be found that he does not care. It would be a bitter sorrow for the world—if this opinion was true. Into countless homes and hearts—it would bring the darkness of despair. 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 the generations, to have men believe. This is the whole gospel of redemption. The Bible presents it on its every page. The world's condemning unbelief, has always been its refusal to believe that God cares.
But does God really care? Is there anywhere, an omnipotent ear—which hears the world's cries of pain—and gives attention to them? Is there anywhere a loving heart which is touched by the world's sorrows, which feels with those who suffer, and which desires to give help and comfort? The greatest stranger when he is passing along the street and sees one suffering, in pain or distress—somewhat cares and pities him. A tender-hearted man feels even for an animal, or a bird which 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 mine, burying hundreds of miners—and a wave of pain sweeps over the world. Human hearts are sensitive to every shade of need and experience in others. When we see a passing hearse, telling us that there is death within, that a family is mourning, though they are utter strangers to us—our hearts are touched, we walk softly, laughter is hushed, loud speech is restrained, we speak more quietly. We care. Is God less compassionate than men are?
Some believe, that God's care is general—not individual. They believe that all things in creation and providence, are planned for the good of the race as a whole. The movements of the earth are so guided as to bring day and night, the seasons in their order, cold and heat, winds and tides and all the changes which bring health, comfort and fruitfulness. God is good to all. "He makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." Nature is ready with gentle service, in all its attributes and forces. But it is the same to all. There is no love in all this, no care for any individual. They sat that the providence of God is kindly, benevolent, helpful—but is no more so to the weak than to the strong, to the sick than to the well, to the distressed and broken-hearted than to the happy and rejoicing. There seems to be no special divine tenderness shown to a home where there is suffering, or where there is great need or bitter sorrow. Life appears no more kindly to the blind man, to the cripple, to the helpless, to the bedridden—than to those who have the use of all their powers and faculties and are well and strong.
Does God really care for us, as individuals? Does he give personal thought to any of us—to you, to me—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, enduring pain or adversity—does God know it, and does he care? Does he have any thought or feeling for you different from that which he has for the person living in the house next to yours—who has no trouble, no suffering?
We know how it is with our human friends. Love is individual. Its interest in us is sympathetic, and varies with our condition and our need. When we are happy, without painful condition, our friends love us—but feel no anxiety concerning us. Tomorrow we are sick or are 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 toward us affected by our experience?
A mother was speaking to a trusted friend about her daughter. The child had had a bitter sorrow, a sore disappointment. The mother knew just what her daughter was passing through. Her love for her child, entered into and shared all the child's experiences. The mother cared. Is there ever anything like this in the heart of God—as he looks upon his children and knows that they are suffering?
The Psalmist says: "I am poor and needy—yet the Lord thinks upon me!" There was wonderful comfort in this assurance. For a man, one man, in the great world of millions—poor, needy, surrounded by enemies and dangers, and with no human friend or helper, to be able to say: "Yet the Lord thinks upon me!" was to find marvelous strength.
But was the needy and beleaguered 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 a imagined assurance, with which to comfort himself? Did God really care for him? And does God care for us, and think upon us—when we are poor and needy?
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 the truth. A great crime has been committed, a brother slain by a brother—and God cares! A woman is in distress because she has been cast out—and God cares! The Lord has heard your affliction," was the message sent to comfort her. All the Bible story shines with records of similar divine care. The Psalms likewise are full of assurances of God's personal interest in men.
Christ teaches the same truth. He speaks over and over of the Father's thought and care. He told his disciples that amid all his care of the worlds—God clothes the grass and the lilies, and finds time to attend to the feeding of the birds, and in all the events of the universe, notes the fall of a little sparrow. He assured them further that the very hairs of their heads are all numbered, meaning that God personally cares for all the minutest affairs of our lives. Not only did Christ teach that God cares for his children—but that he cares for them as individuals. His love is not merely a vague kindly sentiment of interest, in the whole human family—but it is personal and individual 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 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 suffering—he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years." Isaiah 63:9. How could the care of God for his children, be expressed in 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 life was his. 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. If you are hurt—the hurt is felt by him. If you are wronged—he endures the wrong. There is no experience of your life—which he does not share. Whatever your need, your trial, your perplexity, your struggle may be—you may be sure that God knows and cares—and that when you come to him with it, he will take time amid 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 His children is so deep, so personal, so tender—that He has compassion on our every pain, every distress, every struggle. "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him!" Psalms 103:13. God is our Father, and his care is gentler than a human father's—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 comes not with any relief—then God will come. When no one in all the world cares—then God cares! "Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares about you!" 1 Peter 5:7
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