Read His Words Before Ours!
“There is a place where there is an aggregate of human suffering and questioning.
That place is the heart of God.” –Ravi Zacharias, Cries of the Heart
Life holds both purest joy and deepest pain.
Have you experienced a heavy heart, unanswered questions, bitterness that threatened to eat you from the inside out, or anger rooted in grief over unfulfilled longing or loss?
To you, aching sister, I say,
I stand with you in your grief; I hold my own.
I stand with you in your questions; I ask my own.
I stand with you in the bitterness seeking to destroy you; I battle it, too.
I am not writing because I have all the answers. Even after decades of following Jesus, of wrestling long hours, sometimes whole seasons (with the God of the universe to whom I’ve given my whole-hearted devotion), I still ask this simple yet excruciatingly painful question,
“God, do You see me? Do You hear me? Do You care?”
I share your struggle, and I offer what I have learned in hopes it will help you, too.
There is peace available, peace born of resting in the assurance that
God cares deeply for you.
He is our Immanuel, God with us, ever abiding in the darkest recesses of our lives and hearts.
Let’s start with the Bible, a living, active, and power-filled book. (Hebrews 4:12) God inspired many men to write the Bible, preserved its contents over thousands of years, and its power continues to be demonstrated as by it, the Spirit of God transforms believers.
The very gift of His Word is evidence of God’s care for us.
Let’s embrace this precious gift! Read His Word, commit precious passages to memory, and repeat them aloud in your dark moments, and experience His nearness as a result.
God’s Word is both the evidence and activity of His care.
“Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7; emphasis mine)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
(Matthew 10:29-31; emphasis mine)
Read 2 Kings 20:5, Psalm 139:3, and Malachi 3:16 to see for yourself:
God is aware of all our ways.
He takes notice and listens.
He hears our prayers, sees our tears, rescues, defends, and heals.
In countless ways, He demonstrates His care.
I tend to question God’s care only in the midst of hurt (can you relate?).
My cry crescendos as pain persists without relief or resolution.
At these times, we must ask ourselves, with brutal honesty,
“Do we want God to manifest His care, or do we just want Him to make everything better?”
When experiencing pain, it’s natural to want it to end,
pleading with the Lord to make our aching stop.
It’s also natural to question God’s goodness in these times
as we look around and wonder if God is really for us, or if He has forgotten us.
The antidote to both of these is to anchor our hearts, over and over, in the rich depth of God’s unchanging character. God’s comfort and care for us does not change based on our circumstance, or how we feel about Him as we interpret our shifting surroundings.
The book of Mark records a life-threatening scenario for the disciples. Waves crashed over their small fishing boat; drowning was imminent, even for seasoned fishermen, and they cried out to the Lord,
“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?!” (Mark 4:35)
They wanted the intensity of their circumstances to cease,
while also questioning whether the Lord cared about them anymore.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
Christ’s antidote to our natural tendencies when we encounter pain is faith; trusting God for Who God is.
Rather than looking at the waves washing over our “boat”, we can focus our attention on recalling all the ways we already know God cares, and is caring, for us in the middle of the storm.
We experience God’s care when we study the truth of His character in Scripture.
We experience God’s care through songs resounding with reminders of His nature and promises from Scripture.
We experience God’s care through stories of others who have found His grace sufficient to endure suffering, and persevere with the understanding pain is always part of a bigger picture framed by God’s redemption.
Lastly, we experience the most convincing assurance of God’s care when we remember Jesus.
God knows how driven we are to believe only what we perceive with our five senses.
Out of His deep love for us,
He sent Jesus, in our human flesh,
so we could see and hear and touch and smell and know
God. Does. Care.
However, God abandoned His Son so we will not be abandoned in our suffering.
We may share in Christ’s sufferings, but we will NEVER share in abandonment by the Father.
May our prayer echo the prophet Habakkuk, asking God to lift us to the heights to see with eyes of faith the everlasting love and specific care of God in our lives.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!