Book Excerpt - God Cares About Me
This week's Devotional comes from a portion of my book, Cries of Anguish & God's Healing Truth. I pray it will be a blessing to you.
God Cares About Me
The question to ask; is the Lord compassionate and caring towards us? Is that part of His character or not? This is a critical question for our faith and we need the word of God and God Himself to answer it, and He has. If we do not believe we serve a God that is full of compassion towards us, especially in times of pain and suffering, how can we possibly continue to reach out towards Him in prayer? If we view our God as indifferent or worse even cruel towards us in our suffering, our natural reaction is to avoid and flee the Lord during those hard times. That is exactly Satan’s plan, to take us away from our source of love and strength and continue to pummel us with the burdens of life upon our heart and mind.
As we continue to look upon the character of God and see Jesus Christ as the embodiment of the Father, we see Jesus as full of compassion upon people. When he first spoke about His ministry, he read from the book of Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” - (Luke 4:18-19)
That is the essence of compassion, to see us steeped in our sin and suffering and move towards us and do something about it. His whole purpose to come and die was to heal us from the presence and penalty of sin. In his earthly ministry, he healed the sick, had compassion on those who cried out to Him silently and loudly. I think of the leper, who cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” I have cried out those same words too and the Lord has responded the same way, with mercy and compassion. Jesus saw the silent cries of the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years, and brought healing.
But ultimately, when we doubt whether God cares about whether we suffer or not, we must look at the cross. If God cared nothing about our pain and suffering, why bother saving us from an eternity of hell? Why pay the most expensive price of giving His only begotten Son for us, when we at the time rebelled and hated the Lord? Compassion and love for us was His motivation.
When I look upon God’s unfailing compassion towards me through those many months, it is quite overwhelming and consistently faithful. The Lord is always looking to create opportunities to have those intimate moments with Him. God wants us to cry out to Him, so that He can show His compassion and care upon us in real, tangible and unforgettable ways. Sometimes the Lord answers the prayers of our heart and it produces so much praise in our souls towards Him. Sometimes the Lord says no because He is protecting us. Sometimes He makes us wait on His perfect timing because He has a greater purpose to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lately I have been frustrated with my prayer life. I really want to see it go to another level and not just routine or ineffective. I have been asking the Lord to do a work in this area, and prayer is always the best way to start when we need help. God’s sovereignty has led me to two different studies and sermon series on prayer and I’m seeing God do a work already.
The first point that really struck me was a teaching that talked about the Lord’s prayer. “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” - Luke 11:1-4
In the teaching, the preacher said, “Don’t start asking.” Is that how I begin any of my prayer times, asking? How much of our prayer time does that consume, our asking? It’s not how Jesus started; He started with praise. When we start with asking, the focus is on us, on what concerns us, either for ourselves or even for those we care about, but it’s still earthly matters. And God wants to transform our hearts in prayer to go from thinking of us first, which is our default, to thinking about God first and His kingdom.
Why do we need to refocus our minds and hearts in the beginning of prayer? Because we need to remember who it is we are praying to, the Almighty God. He is the one who created the universe and earth by His word. The One who is righteous, Holy and above all things. We need our perspectives changed first, to realize afresh that our God is bigger and more powerful than any of the issues, problems, obstacles or mountains we are about to ask Him to intervene on our behalf. If we don’t do this first, we will doubt and worry and the peace we seek as we cast our burdens upon the Lord will elude us. It’s also to remind us who’s in charge – Him, not us.
I struggle with giving praise in my prayer time. I run out of things to say. I even struggle with giving compliments to people; it’s not natural for me to come up with a bunch of different things to say to someone about their character, which is what praise is. I’m not talking about thanksgiving, where we acknowledge and thank God for doing this and that – but praising Him for who He is or His mighty deeds in the world.
"And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Ezekiel 16:4-6
Blood is a pretty common topic in the Bible; from the sacrifices in the Old Testament to the cross of Christ, blood is spoken of often. As I was reading through the book of Ezekiel and this chapter, the phrase, “in your blood,” kept jumping out at me. And just to drive this point home, I had an accident from my monthly “visitor.” Which as any woman knows, is disgusting and messy. Sorry to be graphic, but the topic of blood just is that kind of topic, there’s nothing clean about it.
If you think of someone covered in blood, your first instinct is not to embrace but to back away and flee the mess or any kind of contamination. God is showing a visual picture of what we appeared like to Him. No one else saw anything in us of value and discarded and left to fend for ourselves. The blood that covered us represents all our sins, every wicked thought and deed we would be ashamed to even have spoken aloud. But God says, I saw you in your blood. You were exposed to my sight. Our sins are open to His eye continually.
But here is where the narrative takes an unexpected turn. “I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’” Not die! Not be seen as a wasted life, or a lost cause, or as too defiled. But live, for I have said you shall live. This is what the Lord says. As vivid as the picture of blood and sin is, so The Lord’s tender care of us is so astounding. He saw me in my blood – my sins and my God chose me while in that state and took me as His own, His own bride. Not just as a servant like a little orphan girl He picked up and giving some charity to, but the one He wanted to lavish His love upon....