God Does Care for You
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God is a God of hope, however. He tells us through the apostle Peter that we should go to Him in prayer and cast our cares on Him, "for He cares for [us]" (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Caring and compassion are two of God's divine attributes that we can sometimes forget about in a trial. King David went through many difficult and tragic events in his life. He was exiled and hunted by his king, experienced the death of his best friend, and even lost his baby son. Even through all his pain he was able to understand God's love and care: "But You, O LORD, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth...You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me" (Psalm 86:15-17).
David beautifully expressed our Creator's care and concern for you in another Psalm: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103:2-4).
The loving nature of care and concern that our Heavenly Father has is also in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we read that "when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick" (Matthew 14:14). The apostle James later wrote that "the Lord is very compassionate and merciful" (James 5:11).
It can be hard to imagine that an all-powerful God would be concerned with our trouble. Maybe we feel so small that we think He can't possibly care about us. God Himself spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and assured us that, even though He is omnipotent, He truly does care. "The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: 'I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts'" (Isaiah 57:15, New Living Translation).
Even when we sometimes forget that God loves and cares for us, we can have faith that He never forgets us. In our limited human perspective, we can lose track of God's ultimate purpose. In His great love and mercy, He does not forget us or our future. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
God is love (1 John 4:8). His love and care for you is based on His very special plan for you and all mankind. When God created mankind, He made us in His very own image (Genesis 1:26).
God Does Hear You
Not only does God truly care for us on a deep level, He also hears us when we cry out to Him. We don't always feel that He is listening though. Feeling like you've lost your connection to God is so very human. God knows our feelings and gave us encouragement in the Bible.
In Romans 15:4 Paul said that "whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." So the stories and accounts of people throughout the Bible are there for us. We can read about the struggles of people like David, Moses and Peter and be encouraged that God worked in their lives, just like He can work in our lives today.
When David wrote about his personal struggles, he always followed a simple but powerful path. He cried out to God in faith, trusting God to hear Him. "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed" (Psalm 61:1). Even though David was a king, he was also just a regular person. And just like any of us, he was sometimes afraid or even lacking in faith.
Despite his fear and uncertainty, when his faith in God was restored, it always led him to the right conclusion: God hears, and God cares. "And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. For the Lord hears the poor, and does not despise His prisoners" (Psalm 69:32-33). When you're overwhelmed with fear, doubt and trouble, set your heart toward God and ask Him in prayer for His comfort and His will in your life.
When It Seems Like God Doesn't Hear
Even when we take our troubles to God and try to trust in Him, it can feel like our prayers don't actually go anywhere—that we're just talking to no one. Many men and women of powerful faith have felt that way at some points in their lives.
The apostle Paul was a man who could have concluded that God doesn't listen to people. After all, he begged God to heal him of a chronic physical problem. God didn't heal him of whatever was troubling him.
Does this mean God didn't hear Paul? Let's take a look at Paul's experience and see how it can help us have faith that God does hear in times of need.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about his experience: "There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me" (2 Corinthians 12:7-8, New International Version).
What was this trial that tormented Paul? We don't know for sure, but comments in Paul's writings hint it may have been a problem with his eyes (Galatians 4:13-15; Galatians 6:11).
Whatever his trial, the implication is that Paul asked God to take the trial away. He probably did this with fasting and heartfelt prayer (2 Corinthians 11:27). Paul even wanted it for the right reasons—so he could continue to spread the gospel and care for the congregations God raised up.
Can you imagine how discouraged Paul was? It's not hard to imagine he could have thought that God wasn't listening. He could have easily let himself drown in despair, or even get bitter against God. But Paul had the right perspective on what was really happening. He realized that God did hear him. The answer wasn't what Paul asked for, but it was the right answer for God's purpose for Paul's life. Paul told the Corinthians that God answered: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, God told Paul: "I know you're suffering. I hear you, and I promise to care for you. It may not be in the way you'd like right now, but I have bigger and better plans for you. This situation is just a step along the way. Trust Me."
We don't know whether God spoke directly to Paul or whether Paul gradually came to understand God's will. What is clear is that Paul came to a deeper spiritual understanding of his own suffering. Even though he was in a tough situation, it strengthened his faith and commitment.
It's easy to think that Paul's example isn't relevant to us today. After all, he was an apostle. He witnessed and performed great miracles. He was basically a "super-Christian," right? Just like David, Paul was just a human being like us. He was weak and powerless without God's help. Anything extraordinary in his life came from God—the same God who works in the lives of those who seek Him today.
Paul's experience teaches us an important lesson. Sometimes when we feel like we have unanswered prayers, God's answer for us is actually "no" or "not yet." God never intended our physical lives to last forever or be the most important thing for us. His focus is on us developing righteous character and a trusting relationship with Him that can last for eternity. He wants to resurrect us to eternal life in a glorious, immortal spirit body not subject to weakness, illness and death (1 Corinthians 15:40-44, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
In the meantime, Paul understood that God in His love will never allow us to fall into trials greater than we can endure. "But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV). Sometimes that "way out" is simply the determination to endure the trial, to "stand up under it."