God, Don’t You Care?

Stormy ocean waves

God, don’t you care?

It’s not a question we would normally ask.  A lot of the time it’s not a question we would acknowledge we have, even to ourselves.

It doesn’t seem like the kind of question we should ask, so we don’t.  We try to keep going, keep trusting, keep believing that of course God cares, that circumstances will turn around soon, that we’ll see what God is doing, that we’ll find some sense of purpose in it all.

Yet the longer it goes on, the more it builds inside us, until finally it bursts out, usually in desperation and frustration.

God, don’t you care?

Don’t you care that I’m suffering?

Don’t you care that I’ve tried so hard to keep going and keep doing the right thing?

Don’t you care that this situation is just unfair?

If you’ve ever been there, be reassured that you’re not alone.  I have certainly asked this question at times, and we also see it come up a couple of times in the New Testament.

The first time it is Jesus’ disciples who ask the question.  They are sailing across the lake, with Jesus sleeping in the back of the boat, when a fierce storm begins.  Despite their valiant efforts to head for the shore, the wind makes it impossible, and the waves crash over the boat, filling it with water, leaving them in real danger.  It must have been a particularly wild storm as some of the disciples had previously been fishermen and were presumably used to being out on the water in all kinds of conditions.

This time it gets too much for them.  They wake Jesus in a panic and ask the question:

“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”  (Mark 4:38 NLT)

The second time, Martha is the questioner.  She has welcomed Jesus into her home and she has worked hard, preparing a special dinner, but becomes increasingly frustrated that, instead of helping, her sister Mary is sitting listening to Jesus’ teaching, leaving her to do all the work.  Even worse, Jesus is not saying anything about it.  It seems that all her effort is going unnoticed.

Eventually the frustration bubbles over and she asks the question:

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?”  (Luke 10:40 NIV)

There are other times when the question is not asked out loud, but when it was surely asked in people’s hearts: for example by Jairus, as he endures an agonising wait for Jesus to come and heal his daughter as he had said he would, only for him to be waylaid by a woman seeking healing for herself.  Doesn’t Jesus care that his daughter’s situation is much, much worse?  Why can’t Jesus tell this woman to wait until later?

His worst fears are confirmed when a servant arrives with news that it is too late his daughter has died.

I imagine it was similar for Mary and Martha as they waited for Jesus to come and heal their brother Lazarus.  Rather than going to them straight away, Jesus waits two days, and when he finally arrives, Lazarus is dead.  Both sisters greet Jesus with the same statement: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  (John 11:21, 32 NLT)

You can sense the pain in their words and almost hear the underlying question:

Didn’t you care enough to come sooner?

So, what are we to make of it we find ourselves questioning whether God cares?  When it seems that our prayers go unanswered?  When we just can’t understand why, if he really did care, he didn’t step in and do something long before now?

First of all, it’s okay to be honest with God.  Sometimes we can feel that we have to hide certain feelings, but you just have to take a look at the Psalms to see people pouring out all kinds of emotions and questions to God.  He welcomes us as we are.

I liked how my blogging friend, Ceil, put it in her post last week: “Why continue prayer that feels forced and inauthentic?  But instead of quitting altogether, beginning to pray from the heart, no matter how the heart feels, would be a sincere and healing step.  God knows how you feel anyway, nothing is a surprise to him.  So why not settle in to prayer and let your feelings flow?”

Secondly, no matter how we feel, the truth is that God cares.

sparrow

He assures us in his Word that no matter what we are going through, he sees and he cares.  He demonstrated it in sending Jesus to bring restoration, and to ultimately bring an end to suffering, injustice, and pain.

Finally, the fact that God cares doesn’t necessarily mean he will deal with our situations in the way we expect. 

Sometimes he steps in and “fixes” the situation straight away- as with the disciples caught in the storm.  Other times he performs a miracle even when it seems like it is too late- as with Jairus’ daughter, or with Lazarus- showing that no situation is beyond his power.

Other times, his response is not what we would expect or hope: rather than Jesus ordering Mary to help her with the food, Martha is told that Mary is the one who has chosen what is really important.

Recently I have been reading a book “When God Doesn’t Fix It” by Laura Story, in which she shares her story of dealing with her husband’s illness.  There are many times of questioning God’s care and pleading with him to change her situation, but her story is a powerful testimony of coming to know God’s care in a deeper, more personal way through a situation that hasn’t been resolved as she expected or hoped.  I’d highly recommend the book, especially if this is a question you are struggling with.

Laura’s song, “Blessings” is one that helped me through a particularly difficult situation and reassured me that, even when we can’t see what God is doing in a situation, one thing we can always trust in is his care.

 

Last year, I wrote a series focusing on different questions Jesus asked people in the Bible.  This year, I am going to do a similar series, looking at questions people asked Jesus.  This post is part 1 in the series.  Join me every Monday over the next few weeks for more.

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54 thoughts on “God, Don’t You Care?

  1. Lesley,
    Love this song by Laura Story!! I’ve been reading through the Bible (again) and I’m in the book of Job. We all know that Job went through many trials and he was a righteous man. What I forget is how for chapters on end Job goes on about God don’t you care? He doesn’t pull any punches and lets God know exactly how he feels….yet God listens. His patience is long-suffering…even when our complaints go on and on. His shoulders are big enough for our honesty and our doubts. And like you said, He always answers, but often in a way we wouldn’t necessarily expect. Great post.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a powerful truth. Sometimes what we view as “good” God sees differently. That’s where trust and surrender comes in during our times of suffering!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Lesley … thank you for this wise, gentle reminder that yes, He cares deeply. And yes, we can come to Him exactly how we are, no fancy language, just open and trusting hearts with all our questions and fears and what- if’s.

    He tenderly waits our arrival, doesn’t He …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Lesley! Thank you so much for including my words in your powerful post today.
    If we read the words of Scripture with a heart of love, it’s often overwhelming. So much sadness, so much joy.
    I want to read more this year, so thank you for your suggestion of “When God Doesn’t Fix It”. It sounds like a very down-to-earth read.
    Monday blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I believe God wants us to be honest with Him, and He’s not afraid of our questions. Like l always tell myself, “Just because you’re not saying it doesn’t mean God doesn’t know you’re thinking it”. And I’ve found out that when we humble ourselves and come to Him, He ministers to us and restores our souls.
    Thanks for this reminder, Leslie. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we have to remember there’s no point in trying to hide from God because he already knows anyway, and, instead of the condemnation we fear, he is always ready to respond with love and grace. Blessings to you too!

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  6. Thank you for encouraging us to approach God with all our questions and doubts, Lesley. And for pointing out the Scripture examples, too. Laura Story’s “Blessings” have been meaningful to me, too. She truly is passing on the comfort God gives her in the midst of their struggles. I have read bits and pieces of it. Her book sounds like it’s encouraging. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trudy! It is always comforting to know we can go to God and be honest, however we feel. I think “Blessings” is a song that has been meaningful to a lot of people and it is amazing how God has used Laura’s struggle to minister to so many others. Love and hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been there, recently and too often with the “God, don’t you care?” questions. I have to keep reminding myself that even though I can’t always see what He is doing and why, that He is always working things out for my good.

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    1. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling that way recently, Barbie! It’s not always easy to hold to the truth when we don’t feel it, but I pray that you know God’s love and care for you today.

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  8. Lesley, what beautiful encouragement to be honest with our God, who DOES CARE. I love the way you lined up those different Bible stories around the theme “Don’t you care?” It is such a basic question we all ask, and somehow it’s comforting to know they asked it too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You really hit at the heart of the question “do you care”? Jesus does come across as not caring sometimes but we miss the point if we don’t dig deeper to understand Jesus’ heart and the why behind his actions. I loved your series last year so I am looking forward to you diving into some deep questions.

    I love Laura Story’s song, Blessings. I imagine her book is wonderful. Thank you for challenging us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary! I really enjoyed last year’s series so I’m looking forward to getting into some questions again! Yes, the song is wonderful and I think knowing the story behind it and learning more about why she wrote it makes it even more meaningful.

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  10. I don’t think I had picked up on that specific question being asked multiple times in the Gospels! Thank the Lord He includes questions like those for us to see and to witness His response too. Thanks for highlighting these wonderful truths, Lesley : )

    Also- When Doesn’t Fix It is a tremendous book! And that song has meant much to me in a trying time too : ) Thanks for sharing about them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bethany! I hadn’t picked up on the question being asked in different situations either. I was just going to write about the storm at first and then the post developed to include other examples too. I’m glad you’ve found the book and the song helpful too!

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  11. Lesley, thank you for this honest post. There is a part of me that shies away from being THAT honest with God. But, He already knows how I feel, so why would I try to hide it? I learned a lot about being honest with God when we walked through infertility. I came to the point of being able to own some of my emotions toward Him for not giving us a baby. But, I also learned to see Him with a different lens, and to look to His face more than just looking to His hands.

    His ways are perfect, even when we don’t understand. And He does care, even when it doesn’t come in the ways we expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeanne! I love your comment about learning to look to God’s face, not just his hands. I think it is often in times of waiting and struggling that we realise our hope has to be in him and in his character, rather than pinning all our hopes on the outcome we want. It is important to remember that he sees the big picture and knows what is best in a situation better than we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jesus was both human and God. Yet He too thought His Father did not care when on the Cross He cried “Why have you abandoned me?”

    We should take heart from that. Of course we can be honest with God. Of course we can be angry sometimes. He can take our anger. After all, He took all our anger when hanging on the Cross.

    We should also trust Him enough that He will respond, in His time and in His way.

    God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting, Victor. Thanks for pointing us to Jesus’ words on the Cross. Yes, it is encouraging to know at times when we feel abandoned by God that Jesus understands because he has been there too. Blessings to you too!

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  13. Lesley,
    I hadn’t thought about all those instances you reference in the Bible where it seemed as if Jesus didn’t care — and even when his friends were brave enough to ask him about it! I love that you pointed this out and take us to the places in scripture where yes, he does care, even if our circumstances don’t make it feel as if he does. I haven’t read Laura Story’s book but I want to since I really love her song, Blessings, too! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Valerie! I think you’d like the book. I’ve loved her music (especially Blessings) for a few years now but only read the book recently. It’s interesting to find out more about what led her to write the songs! xxx

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  14. I’m already looking forward to your new series, Lesley. And I love how you point out the truth that God cares, whether or not we feel that He does. I think this applies to so many of God’s attributes … His love, His forgiveness, His sovereignty … they are truth, regardless of what anyone says, does, or feels. But I’m glad we have examples in Scripture of people who questioned and how God kindly responded to them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lois. Yes, I think there are many truths about God that we have to hold onto even though we don’t feel them at times. And it is a relief that he is patient with our doubts and questions.

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    1. Glad you liked the book too, Naomi! I think we often feel we can’t ask those questions even though we have them inside us. It’s good to get them out into the open and bring them to God.

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  15. I love the way you shared this. I have read this theme a lot lately and am SO grateful for it. He DOES care and for so long I thought I had to act good all the time and try to stifle the messy emotions in front of him. It’s weird how our theology gets warped. Love the song you shared too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lesley, this is so true. Sometimes we are too scared to ask the hard questions because we are afraid of what the answer may be. God does care though, and every answer He gives, He does so lovingly. His answer is always the right one, even when it’s not why we hoped for. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I LOVE that song by Laura Story! It speaks such deep truths!
    And you’re right; it’s okay to be honest with God. Who do we really think we’re hiding our thoughts from? He knows our every thought! We may as well talk with Him about it! 🙂
    Have a great weekend, sister! ❤

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