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Monday, August 13, 2012

Does God Really Care?

Remember, the reason for this blog is to help us understand God by taking a look back over our journey to see just where God was in our lives and what He might have been wanting us to learn. Last week, I focused on the summer following my first year of university and trying to find a job. (If you missed the stories, you might want to take a few minutes to check it out, beginning with Summer Jobs 1, posted on Monday (August 6) and ending with Summer Jobs 1: Hillside.) The posts stirred some interesting questions but most can be summed up in one big one: Does God Really Care?

Q: C’mon, Sojourner. You can’t really think that God cares about your summer job, can you? Doesn’t the Bible say that God helps those who help themselves?

A: Let me answer the second question first. No, the Bible doesn’t say that God helps those who help themselves. That’s one of the many half-truths that float around and turn us away from the very One Who can help us. Remember, God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. I believe that God wants us to do what we can to help ourselves; but, when we have done all we can and still don’t have a job (in this case), I think He is wanting us to humble ourselves and ask for His help.

You have done all you can, have asked for His help, and still don’t have a job? Okay, now we are getting into the answer to the first question…. does God really care?

Sometimes I think what folks are asking is, “Does the God you say cares so much even know who I am? There are more than seven billion people on the face of this earth, can God really know who I am and that I need a job?” Yes, most definitely!

Even before you have asked God to forgive you of your sins and surrendered your life to Him, God knows exactly who you are; He made you and knows all there is to know about you. (Read Psalm 139 again, putting your own name in the place where it says “I” and “me.” It’s written below, in case you don’t have a Bible.) God knows who you are. Does He care? Yes, He cares, even before you have surrendered your life to Him; He cares.

The old hymn, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, whose chorus reads: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. (For the lyrics to the entire hymn, you can Google the title. You can even listen to the song, if you like.)

In the Bible, we find the inspiration for that song in Matthew Chapter 10:29-31:

“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.”

And, in Luke Chapter 12:6 and 7:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

It seems to me that the Lord is saying that He is watching out for even the lowliest of birds; none of His creation is without value. Then God adds in something that none of us even knows about ourselves, just to let us know He knows more about us, than we know about ourselves! (Well, unless you are bald, then you might know the number of hairs on your head.)

Not only does God know what, if anything, is growing out of your head, He knows your name and spoke to you before you were even born (which might be why children have an easier time of hearing God’s voice). Recorded in Isaiah Chapter 49:1:

“Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.”

And, later in that same chapter, verse 16:

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

That is one of my favorite portions of Scripture. What a marvelous picture of God’s love for us. YES, dear Reader, God knows you and He cares about every detail of your life.

In the next post, which I plan will be tomorrow unless it rains too much, we’ll move on to the issue of my summer jobs, in particular. Does God care if we have a job or not?

Psalm 139 (NIV):

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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