Friday, May 16, 2008
Sometimes it seems that no one cares about your pain.
David said: “no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life” (Psalm 142:4 NIV). Do you sometimes feel like that? Do you sometimes cry out with Solomon that even the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel? (Proverbs 12:10). Does it seem that no one is listening and that people, who should be concerned, hurt you more, rather than minister to your need?
Sometimes these are just our perceptions but often, they are a reflection of the hard-heartedness and self-absorption of those around us. Yes, even of Christians! But there is One who truly cares – God cares for you.
Sometimes we wonder if God even knows about our existence. I knew a man who was in the same (small) church as me and with whom I spoke every week and who, after many years, still did not know my name. He always called me by a name which is not mine. People often act around as though we don’t even exist. But God not only knows that you exist, He knows your name.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1). “I know you by name” (Exodus 33:17). We are not just numbers in God’s big database, but he knows our names and not only our names, but everything about us. We often find it hard to understand how God can know us by our names when people around us don’t. That’s just the problem. We tend to feel that because people don’t care, God also does not care. But God does care even more than we can imagine.
He keeps track of every bird that dies and of every hair upon our heads (Matthew 10:29-30). If He is concerned about such unimportant details, don’t you think that He is even more concerned and informed about those major issues you are wrestling with? Of course He is. There is no problem in your life that is too big or too small for God to know about and to care about. I have never come across anyone who counts the hairs on their head, yet God does. So if he is concerned about the least of our worries, is He not even more concerned with those major problems, traumas, upsets, fears and frustrations that you face?
Often people say they care yet you know that they remain unaffected by your pain. But God not only knows about your heartache, He feels with you and for you. Have your friends forsaken you, do people misunderstand you, do they turn your kind words into something you did not mean, do they slander you, do they actually try to hurt you (physically and emotionally), do they act as though you do not exist? They did the same to Jesus, and much more, and so He is touched by our struggles. He feels with us, and feels for us when we go through tough times. There is not a single hurt that you feel, that he does not feel as acutely as you do.
Not only does God know about your problems and not only does He feel your pain – He cares for and about you. He has compassion on us. People often respond to our problems by saying that we have brought it on ourselves, and often that is true. But God is not in the blaming business, He loves, cares, is concerned and is merciful on all who are in need.
Sometimes we cannot bear to look upon other’s hurt as it is too much for us to bear. But He never turns His face away, no matter what happens. When those rocks were crushing Stephen’s bones, and his ears were filled with blasphemy, insults and accusations, and his friends fled, Jesus stood at the right hand of the Throne and took every blow together with Stephen. It was just as though Jesus was right next to Stephen on that landfill as they buried him under the rocks and the insults.
People’s insensitivity and hardness to our needs often hurt more than the problems. But God is sensitive, merciful, tender, compassionate, kind and gentle with those who are struggling. The problem is that we are sometimes so concerned with reaching out to people for help that we forget to see that the Almighty God is actually reaching out to touch us in our moment of weakness.
Peter, writing to suffering Christians says: “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7). Yes, He indeed cares for you but you and I need to cast our cares on Him. So often we try to bear them ourselves and often we bemoan the fact that no one else cares to lift a finger to help us with our load when the Lord Jesus is just waiting for us to unload it all on Him. Won’t you come to Him now and place your burdens at His feet. Yes, the problems may not go away, but knowing that He is sharing the load makes it so much lighter and easier to bear.
I cannot put it any better than that great hymn of Joseph Scriven. You probably know it by memory, but look at these words once afresh. Listen here
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.