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Thursday, May 11, 2006

"Yes, God Cares"

But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).  "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).


Last night Brooksyne made a visit to the Medical Center in Hershey to visit a patient who was suddenly stricken with a serious, life-altering illness.  She has come to know this woman through her chaplaincy ministry and wanted to assure her personally that God has not forgotten her.  Through her visit and prayer she encouraged the patient to cast all her care upon the Lord as she goes through the recovery process. That's the nature of ministry.

Early in the disciple's relationship with Jesus they were in a boat after a tiring day of ministry.  A furious storm arose and threatened to capsize the boat.  Jesus was sleeping on a cushion in the stern. I recall from my ministry training days that this text is among the proofs of Christ's humanity.  I find it remarkable that He was able to sleep during a massive storm that seriously frightened even experienced fishermen.  Isn't that the kind of peace we want during the inevitable storms of our lives, as we realize that God is in control? 

These experienced fishermen, who had plied these waters for many years, recognized the imminent danger.  They awoke Jesus and asked a very pointed question, "Do You not care that we are perishing?" Isn't this the very question we have all asked or wondered thousands of times?  Let's just condense it to, "Does God care?" 

Jesus does not answer the disciples with words, but with a mighty demonstration of His power.  He stilled the storm.  Not only were the disciples saved, but they also learned a valuable lesson.  Many years later one of them wrote, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." After years of walking with Jesus it was no longer a question to Peter, but a settled fact that that has become a cherished truth comforting believers for nearly 2000 years.  "He cares for you."

Like the disciples we may at times wonder, "Does Jesus really care?"  But His Word abundantly demonstrates and teaches that He does.  Some of you are in the midst of a trial today.  Your faith is being tested.  Settle this much.  Today He has not changed.  God cares for you.  We can personalize that, "He cares for me."  His care is motivated by His love, under-girded by His power, and assured by His faithfulness.  Lord, help us to hide this truth deep in our hearts today!  Yes, You care.

O yes He cares; I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's Prayer:  Jesus, Your Word assures me time and time again of Your compassionate love toward me and that Your gentle Hand will guide me through the variables of life.  You respond to my needs faithfully, but I confess to You that my doubts begin when Your voice is silent about particular ongoing needs I have been dealing with.  It is in these settings that I begin to wonder if You really do care.  Instead of questioning Your care for me, help me to prove my faith by trusting You even when You are silent.  Help me to persevere in prayer in seeking to understand Your overall plan in these matters that concern me.  And when I don't understand Your plan help me to trust You because faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted.

I took the photo that accompanies today's message yesterday right in front of my office window!

As I prepared today's message another Scripture portion came to mind that would seem to have been written after the events described in today's message. But actually it's a Psalm written many hundreds of years earlier!  "He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men" (Psalm 107:29-31).

"Does Jesus Care?" Graeff, Frank E. Hall, J. Lincoln © Public Domain CCLI License No. 2005306  Here's an audio of this song courtesy of a local church in Alabama.

Brooksyne quotes Warren Wiersbe in her prayer today using the phrase, "Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted." Warren Wiersbe for many years has been among our favorite writers and we have both been mightily blessed by his ministry.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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