Does God really care?
I was in a conversation with a long-time acquaintance who was attending worship services long before I started to attend one. It was a long and a bit crushing conversation because by his own admission he is slipping away from his faith in God.
I did my best during the conversation to influence him that even if we don’t understand the works of God’s hand, we can trust His heart.
In the end of a 3-hour conversation, his conclusion and question still is “does God really care?” He was honest enough to admit that He sort of blame God for his losses in life – death of his parents, just 2 years apart; bankruptcy, business failure, etc. I asked him in return, “just because we suffer, does that mean that God is to be blamed?“
Jim Jantz, a successful Canadian businessman interviewed in the Hour of Power, when asked “What happened to you after you made Christ the centre of your life?” answered squarely and very frankly, “Actually, I was still faced with all the problems I had been facing before I was a Christian. The problems didn’t go away.”
In the years that passed, I discovered that my acquaintance’s and Jim’s situation isn’t unique. In fact, I personally realized that my ‘problems’ increased after I became Christians. I struggled more. I ‘suffered’ more
When I became a Christian did my problems disappear? Not at all!
What about you? Did your problems disappear when you became a Christian? I don’t think so.
Where does the problem start?
The problem begins when we think that God owes us His goodness just because we became Christians and especially because we ‘served’ Him in any form of ministry or been active in church activities and have been a regular on Sunday services.
I really believe that the root of the question “does God really care?” is self-entitlement. We want the blessing without the responsibility. We want discipleship without the discipline.
Yes, all His promises are yes and amen, but there is always an “IF”. If we obey. If we put Him first. If we choose to trust him even if the circumstances say otherwise.
Take for example the people of old. Moses and the entire nation in his generation whom he led was not able to enter the promised land. One man’s disobedience (Numbers 20:8,11) caused the entire generation’s destiny.
Does that mean God is unfair?
Does that mean God does not care?
Some of our actions have consequences – good or bad – and God is not to be blamed. He has given us freewill and we chose otherwise. Plus, we don’t really reap the consequences of what we chose on the same day we chose it. In some instances, the consequence is automatic. In most situation, it comes to us even long after we have forgotten about our choices.
Also, it does not mean that knowing God means the consequences of yesterday’s disobedience are deleted or erased. While there can be a literal pardon, most of us have to go through the consequences of those actions even after we have been born again.
But one thing I know for sure is that God gives us grace to go through those circumstances with strength and dignity restored.
That being said, yes God cares. He does.
We just think otherwise because we believe with our distorted minds that God owes us and that we are entitled to all the goodness we think we deserve just because we ‘attend church’.
Just attending a worship service, Sunday in and Sunday out, doesn’t make us a ‘discipled’ Christian any more than eating in Jollibee or McDonald’s, everyday, make us a burger.
3 Realities to being a born-again Christian
When we go through a suffering, here are three realities of being a born again Christian that we should always keep in mind:
- Problems don’t go away just because I became a Christian
Maybe you have had an experience like this – you come home from a mountaintop experience to problems of everyday life.
Maybe you think, “Why in the world did I become a Christian? What good is it doing for me? It hasn’t solved any of my problems.”
Some people misunderstand Christianity. I misunderstood it. Maybe you, too.
We think that because it’s based on a belief in a supernatural God that it has some magical qualities about it. Some believe that once they become Christians there will automatically be some magical altering of their lives. Where they formerly had worries and problems, they expect blissful contentment. This is not only biblical, it is naive.
What happens though when we become a Christian is that we are being transformed from glory to glory. And quite honestly, transformation is never an easy journey.
- Being a born again Christian does not mean you are always going to be happy.
When Paul in the Bible was blinded on the road to Damascus, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord and tried to live a new life, but no one trusted him. They branded him a traitor and turned against him when the Jews found out he had become a Christian.
When he turned to the Christians, they felt he was trying to trick them, so they rejected him. He tried to preach as in independent evangelist and he was arrested by the Romans and sent to jail in Rome. All because he had believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and became a Christian!
Happiness is not a state of being. It’s a state of consciousness. Happiness is not a matter of “being” anything. It’s a conscious decision we make. Personal happiness is something each of us is responsible for on a day-to-day basis.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to be spared from your problems. This doesn’t mean you’re always going to conquer the sorrow you’ll feel. Sorrow is very real; problems are very real.
One of the ironies of life is that sometimes our greatest sorrows can come right on the heels of our greatest experiences of joy and serenity. There is no way we could just laugh away our problems.
I am a Christian but I am not feeling happy every moment of my life. Sorrow is a very real emotion; sorrow and depression don’t just go away. But life continues as normal – only with a difference. This difference is – we can face our problems with faith.
In the mornings upon waking up, before your feet hits the floor, we can recite this to ourselves: “I’m going to be happy today, though the skies may be cloudy or gray. No matter what comes my way, I’m going to be happy today.” This determination set the tone for the day.
- Becoming a born again Christian changes your life because it enables you to face your problem with faith.
Christianity does not make you a better person than your neighbour. Christianity makes you a better person than you would be if you were not a Christian.
We have our imperfections, but Jesus Christ came into this world so that you and I might be perfected through him and brought before the Father as a perfect creature through Jesus Christ. Our faith in him enables us to use that faith as a shield against life’s challenges.
Everyone experiences difficult times in life. It may not be a deep valley like the death of a loved one, but everyone is continually faced with challenges.
Friend, if heart-breaking challenges is facing you today, please run to God. Perhaps you’re going through a marriage breakup, facing a bankruptcy, or your job is threatened, or you maybe dealing with a difficult relationship.
I don’t know what specific problem you are facing right now. I, too, have my share of difficulties but if there’s one thing I know for sure, I’m not dumped in the valley, I’m going through the valley.
The difficult times will not last. However long it may seem, it will not last. It may feel like a lifetime, but it will not last. Getting through the valley is extremely difficult, but it is not impossible. This too shall pass.
This is the way life is. We no sooner come out of one going-through stage and we enter another. We are pilgrims, but those of us who know Christ as our Saviour and as our Lord will never walk alone.
Whether we are confronted by bankruptcy, relationship ruins, physical abuse, spiritual turmoil, emotional mess, mental illness, God can use our ‘going through‘ stages to prepare us for greater things. David, in the Bible, though he was a failure prayed, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Your life, too.
Friend, please loosen your hold on yourself and yield the control to Him. Let Him hold you because He cares even if you don’t feel like He does. Believe me, He cares.