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Does God Really Care About Me?

“If it matters to you, it matters to God,” read my friend’s fridge magnet. I thought it was a lovely sentiment when I first read these words at my friend’s place several years ago. However, I began to question this as I grappled with frustrated hopes and disappointment with God.

In my younger days, I struggled a lot with loneliness and longed very much to be in a romantic relationship. I prayed about it frequently, but God didn’t seem to answer my prayers year after year. Before long, I doubted if God really cared about what mattered to me.

After all, why would He make time for someone like me? In the grand scheme of things, I, and my desire for a relationship, must surely be so insignificant in His eyes.

I knew that God is the Creator of all things. He is majestic, glorious, everlasting, and magnificent. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, far greater than all things. But I, who came from dust and will return to dust, am like grass that easily withers. Why would God care about me and my longings?

However, even in my doubts and struggles, my favorite line from the Book of Jonah would, from time to time, come back to me. It was as if the Holy Spirit wanted to remind me of something. In the last passage of the book, God asked Jonah, “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11)

God didn’t just care about great and important matters; He also cared about what, to most people, would seem like an insignificant thing—the lives of animals. It made me think that perhaps God does care about little things after all. As I read the Bible over the years, I began to look out for instances where God took note of such matters.

 

God cares about the stars

Did you know that God not only decided how many stars there should be in the universe, but He also calls each one by name? (Psalm 147:4; Isaiah 40:26) It’s as if in creating them, God gave every star His special attention, choosing a name for them and introducing each one to the world.

If this is the attention God devotes to stars, what close, loving attention would He pay to us? The Bible tells us that God counsels us with His loving eye on us (Psalm 32:8). After all, the Father handpicked each one of us to be His son or daughter, so that we can be called by His Name (1 John 3:1). What an unimaginable joy and unthinkable honor that is!

 

God cares about the animals and plants

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care,” Jesus reminds us (Matthew 10:29). God actually pays attention to such small birds, and He cares about their life and death.

“So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows,” Jesus assures us (Matthew 10:31). If God cares enough to provide for and take care of even such insignificant animals, how much more would He take care of us?

God also dresses the flowers of the field in beauty that exceeds King Solomon’s splendor (Matthew 6:28-29). So while I may feel like lowly dust and perishable grass, I find comfort in this: If God can clothe the grass of the field with such splendor, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, surely, He will provide well for me, too.

 

God cares about the little details

Did you ever notice that God made clothes for Adam and Eve?

After Adam and Eve sinned against God, they covered themselves with fig leaves because they were ashamed in their nakedness (Genesis 3:7). However, their coverings must not have been so good, because later, “[t]he Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

Even though God had to exile Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because of their sin, He made sure to provide them with something substantial and lasting to cover themselves. Would He not also provide for us in substantial and lasting ways today?

When God led the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, He “sustained them in the wilderness [and] they lacked nothing,” to the extent of making sure that neither their clothes nor sandals wore out (Nehemiah 9:21). Each and every day, God protected their bodies from the elements and their feet from swelling (Deuteronomy 8:4; 29:5). Would He not also care for and address our everyday concerns today?

 

God cares about the little things in our lives

God is mighty and deserving of all the adoration in my life, but I have realized that He is also meticulous and attentive to the smallest details in my life.

He knows the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30-31). I always like to imagine that He’s gently caressing my head, counting each strand of my hair. He knows and loves me that well, that intimately.

He knows my misery and saves my tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8). God cares about what I care about, and He takes notes of my concerns. One day, He will personally wipe every tear from my eyes (Revelation 21:4).

We are told “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, emphasis added). This includes every little thing we’re anxious about. This encourages me because I’m easily stressed out by small matters, from financial matters to not having enough time to meet a deadline to lack of rest. If I’m not careful, these things can make me anxious. However, I often feel more rested when I remind myself that God does care about me, and I can entrust to Him every big and small worry in my life.

 

I used to struggle with feeling forgotten by God, that perhaps “[m]y way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God” (Isaiah 40:27). But God kept assuring me that He is the everlasting God who will not grow weary of taking note of my concerns, and that there’s nothing in my life He doesn’t fully understand.

I now know that I can bring anything before God: He is a God who cares about every intricate detail of my life. And the biggest evidence for this is in the fact that He cares for me. Jesus is the Shepherd of my soul who would leave the 99 sheep to go look for me—He would scale the heights, and plumb the depths, and go the distance, and light the darkness until He finds me. (1 Peter 2:25; Luke 15:4; Psalm 139:7-12)

This fosters my trust in Him and helps me to experience peace even in life’s smaller worries.

“If it matters to you, it matters to God”—because you and I matter to God.

Coming Clean On My Dirty Little Secret

Written By Deborah Fox, Australia

I stood there with a razor in my hand. It was the first time I’d ever seriously contemplated ending my life.

I had been in the shower for almost an hour, and I could hear the voices of my mother and sister pleading with me to get out. Although I knew they loved me, I felt like I was too great a burden on my family. That feeling of never being “good enough” plagued me every waking moment of my life. I was acutely aware of my shortcomings and failures at all times. I wondered if the world would be better off without me.

Thankfully, God intervened.

But my battle continued on.

Depression, anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have been a struggle for me since I was 11. I felt that people generally understood my pain when I was suffering from a physical illness, but when it came to my OCD, I was either made fun of or my thoughts were dismissed as childish. Let me clarify something: this condition is not something that can be mocked as simply a “desire to be neat”. It’s not something you can switch on and off. It’s your own personal prison sentence of unwanted thoughts and behaviors.

I started showing symptoms of OCD after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as a child. The fear of germs and contamination became a little too real for me, and a psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD. This is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a disorder in which a person feels compelled to perform certain stereotyped actions repeatedly to alleviate persistent fears or intrusive thoughts, typically resulting in severe disruption of daily life.” The compulsions can manifest in a variety of ways, but I had some of the most common traits: a fear of germs and the compulsion to repeat behaviors.

I thought that if I could somehow control my own environment, maybe I would not get sick as often, or make others sick. I watched what I ate, had an exercise routine and cleaning rituals I had to perform a precise number of times each day. I avoided situations that might make me dirty at all costs. If I needed to use a bathroom while I was out, I would hold on until I got home. If I could just be super clean, super fit, super healthy, I would be “okay.”

But it was never enough. No matter how hard I tried, my anxious thoughts would not go away, even after I had washed my hands to the point where they were bleeding. I knew my thought patterns were irrational. I knew “most people” would not focus so intently on the same things I did. But the thoughts were relentless. I was a prisoner in my own mind. It would take hours to get ready and I would often make my family late for school or important events. The guilt and shame that resulted from my constant rituals and need for assurance fed the OCD even more.

Although I hated going to therapy, I’m so thankful that my mother persisted with me. I’m thankful that I was able to take medication and get professional help. Yet it wasn’t until I attended a Christian camp while at university that I began to understand that it was not my battle to fight alone—Jesus had already done that for me. I didn’t have to be perfect—I already knew that I had failed that test. I would never measure up to human standards, let alone God’s standards. After hearing a simple presentation of the gospel, it all became so clear. My Heavenly Father accepted me just as I was—broken, ashamed, afraid, timid and heartbroken. My focus had been on my failings—not on the victory Jesus had already won on my behalf. My condition appeared to improve—but only temporarily.

As much as I would love to say that my battle with OCD and anxiety is a thing of the past, the truth is that it is still a daily struggle. Writing my story was something I didn’t want to do. A massive part of me wanted to pull the plug on this article entirely. It was a little too personal. But that’s what mental disorders like OCD do—the guilt and shame they produce often force you to hide. You try to put on a mask and keep up the charade of “keeping it together” to the outside world. The compulsions feel like a dirty little secret that should never see the light of day. Yet, like sin, the only way for the light to shine through is for those secret battles to be brought forward and acknowledged.

I often catch myself thinking, “You were supposed to be cured of this. Why is it something you’re struggling with again?” I try to remind myself that I shouldn’t worry or be anxious about anything “but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [my] requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

But the worries often come flooding back with a vengeance. I feel like I’ve failed again when I make myself late for work after driving back to the house to check for the 10th time that I’d actually locked the door. I feel like I’ve failed when I have to cancel brunch plans on a friend because I’ve been stuck in the shower for too long and then had a panic attack because I was worried about the idea of making them wait.

I worry that I will never be able to serve God effectively because of my irrational fears. But then I remember that God doesn’t need us to be perfect in order to use us. The Apostle Paul was used in mighty ways for the Lord, even though he speaks of a “thorn in [his] side” he so desperately prayed God would take away (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

When that doesn’t happen, Paul reminds us that God is still in control. His plans still succeed, even when we serve Him in our brokenness. We will never be good enough to stand before the throne of God’s grace. But the good news is that we don’t need to be! “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What dirty little secret has been keeping you back? Bring it to God. Be real with Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He walks with us even when we don’t feel like we can lift our eyes from the ground. Trust that God’s grace is sufficient for you, even in your weakness.

ODB: Safe in His Arms

November 17, 2015 

READ: Isaiah 66:5-13 

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

 

I sat next to my daughter’s bed in a recovery room after she had undergone surgery. When her eyes fluttered open, she realized she was uncomfortable and started to cry. I tried to reassure her by stroking her arm, but she only became more upset. With help from a nurse, I moved her from the bed and onto my lap. I brushed tears from her cheeks and reminded her that she would eventually feel better.

Through Isaiah, God told the Israelites, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isa. 66:13). God promised to give His children peace and to carry them the way a mother totes a child around on her side. This tender message was for the people who had a reverence for God—those who “tremble at his word” (v. 5).

God’s ability and desire to comfort His people appears again in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian believers. Paul said the Lord is the one “who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). God is gentle and sympathetic with us when we are in trouble.

One day all suffering will end. Our tears will dry up permanently, and we will be safe in God’s arms forever (Rev. 21:4). Until then, we can depend on God’s love to support us when we suffer. 

— Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear God, help me to remember that nothing can separate me from Your love. Please assure me of Your care through the power of the Holy Spirit.


God comforts His people.  

ODB: Charity Island

November 9, 2015 

READ: Psalm 107:23–32 

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

 

Charity Island is the largest island in Saginaw Bay in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron. For many years the island has provided a lighthouse for navigational aid and a safe harbor for those sailing these waters. The island received its name because sailors believed it was there “through the charity of God.”

Sometimes in life we have to navigate through seas of troubling circumstances. Like those sailors we need guidance and a place of safety; we might wish for our own Charity Island. The psalmist understood that God is the one who can bring tranquility to troubled waters and guide us to safe harbors. He wrote, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” (Ps. 107:29-30).

While no one asks for the storms of life, they can multiply our appreciation for the guidance and refuge God provides. He offers the light of His Spirit and His Word to guide us. It is the safe harbor of His love that we long for. He alone can be our ultimate “Charity Island.”

— Dennis Fisher

Father, help me to seek Your light to guide me through the storms of life.



Share your story of how the Lord has been your light in the comments section below.


The living God will always be our shelter.