God Really Cares About You
IT IS only natural to call to God for help when we are in dire straits. After all, he “is great and is abundant in power; his understanding is beyond recounting.” (Psalm 147:5) He is in the very best position to help us to cope with our problems. Added to that, the Bible invites us to ‘pour out our heart’ before him. (Psalm 62:8) Why is it, then, that so many have the impression that God does not answer their prayers? Does that mean that he does not care?
Rather than being quick to blame God for any seeming inaction, think back to the time when you were a child. When your parents did not give in to your every demand, did you ever accuse them of not loving you? Many children do. When you grew up, however, you appreciated that love is displayed in many ways and that saying yes to a child’s every request is not really the loving thing to do.
Similarly, if Jehovah does not always answer our prayers to our liking, it does not mean that he is ignoring us. The truth is, God shows his concern for all of us in many ways.
“By Him We Have Life”
First of all, it is thanks to God that “we have life and move and exist.” (Acts 17:28) Giving us life surely shows his loving concern for us!
Further, Jehovah supplies what we need in order for us to stay alive. We read: “He is making green grass sprout for the beasts, and vegetation for the service of mankind, to cause food to go forth from the earth.” (Psalm 104:14) In fact, our Creator does more than provide the bare necessities of life. He generously gives “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling [our] hearts to the full with food and good cheer.”—Acts 14:17.
Still, some may wonder, ‘If God loves us so much, why is he allowing us to suffer?’ Do you know the answer to that question?
Is God to Blame?
Much of mankind’s suffering is self-inflicted. For example, the dangers of certain high-risk activities are well-known. Still, people engage in sexual immorality, abuse alcohol and other drugs, use tobacco, participate in extreme sports, drive too fast, and so forth. If such risky behavior results in suffering, who is to blame? God or the one acting unwisely? God’s inspired Word says: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Galatians 6:7.
In addition, humans often hurt one another. When a nation declares war, surely God is not to blame for the suffering that results. When a criminal attacks a fellow citizen, is God to blame for any resulting injury or death? Of course not! When a dictator oppresses, tortures, and murders those under his control, should we blame God? That would be unreasonable.—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
What, though, of the millions who live in abject poverty or who are starving? Is God to blame? No. Our planetary home supplies more than enough food to feed everyone. (Psalm 10:2, 3; 145:16) It is the unequal distribution of the God-given bounty that leads to widespread hunger and poverty. And human selfishness prevents that problem from being solved.
The Basic Cause
Who, though, is to blame when someone gets sick or dies because of old age? Would it surprise you to know that God is not to blame even for that? God did not create man to get old and die.
When the first human pair, Adam and Eve, were placed in the garden of Eden, Jehovah gave them the prospect of everlasting life in an earthly paradise. However, he clearly wanted the earth to be populated by humans who would appreciate their heritage. Hence, he made their future life prospects conditional. Adam and Eve would live in Paradise only as long as they remained subject to their loving Creator.—Genesis 2:17; 3:2, 3, 17-23.
Sadly, Adam and Eve rebelled. Eve chose to listen to Satan the Devil. He lied to her and in effect said that God was withholding something good from her. So she embarked on an independent course and attempted to “be like God, knowing good and bad.” Adam joined her in her rebellion.—Genesis 3:5, 6.
When they sinned in this way, Adam and Eve showed themselves unworthy of living forever. They suffered the disastrous results of sin. Their strength and vitality waned, and eventually they died. (Genesis 5:5) However, their rebellion had far more serious consequences. We are still suffering from the effects of Adam and Eve’s sin. The apostle Paul wrote: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Yes, because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, sin and death spread like a malignant disease through the whole human race.
The Strongest Evidence of God’s Care
Does that mean that God’s human creation was permanently ruined? No, and here we come to the strongest evidence that God cares for us. At great cost to himself, God provided the means to redeem mankind from sin and death. The redemption price was Jesus’ perfect life, willingly given in our behalf. (Romans 3:24) Thus, the apostle John wrote: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) As a result of this outstanding act of love, we once again have the prospect of living forever. Paul wrote to the Romans: “Through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life.”—Romans 5:18.
We can be certain that in God’s due time, there will be no more suffering or death on planet Earth. Rather, the conditions foreseen in the book of Revelation will hold sway: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3, 4) You may say, ‘I will never live to see that time.’ However, the fact is that you might. And even if you die, God can raise you from the dead. (John 5:28, 29) That is what God purposes for us, and that is what will happen. How far from the truth it is to say that God does not care for mankind!
“Draw Close to God”
It is comforting to know that God has initiated a long-term, permanent solution to the problem of human suffering. What, though, about right now? What can we do if we lose a loved one in death or our child falls sick? Well, it is not yet God’s time to remove sickness and death. The Bible indicates that we will have to wait a little longer for that to be worked out. But God has not left us without help. The disciple James said: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) Yes, our Creator invites us to have a close personal relationship with him, and those who do never fail to sense his support even in the most difficult situations.
How do we draw close to God? King David asked a similar question about three millenniums ago, saying: “O Jehovah, . . . who will reside in your holy mountain?” (Psalm 15:1) David answered his own question when he went on to say: “He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart. He has not slandered with his tongue. To his companion he has done nothing bad.” (Psalm 15:2, 3) In other words, Jehovah welcomes those who follow the course that Adam and Eve rejected. He draws close to those who do his will.—Deuteronomy 6:24, 25; 1 John 5:3.
How can we do God’s will? We have to learn what is “fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God,” and then choose to act accordingly. (1 Timothy 2:3) That involves taking in accurate knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible. (John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) More than just casual Bible reading is involved. We need to imitate the first-century Jews in Beroea who heard Paul’s preaching. Of them, we read: “They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”—Acts 17:11.
Likewise today, a careful study of the Bible strengthens our faith in God and helps us to forge a close relationship with him. (Hebrews 11:6) It also helps us to appreciate exactly how Jehovah deals with mankind—not only for short-term benefits but especially for the long-term good of all who are rightly disposed.
Consider the expressions of a few Christians who have a close relationship with God. “I love Jehovah so much, and I have so much to thank him for,” says 16-year-old Danielle. “He gave me loving parents who have a genuine love for him and who have taught me according to his Word.” A Christian in Uruguay writes: “My heart swells with appreciation, and I am moved to thank Jehovah for his undeserved kindness and for his friendship.” God welcomes even very young ones. Seven-year-old Gabriela says: “I love God more than anything in the whole wide world! I have my own Bible. I love to learn about God and his Son.”
Today, millions worldwide wholeheartedly agree with the psalmist who said: “The drawing near to God is good for me.” (Psalm 73:28) They have been helped to cope with the problems they face now, and they have the confident hope of living forever in Paradise on earth. (1 Timothy 4:8) Why not make it your aim to “draw close to God”? Indeed, we are assured: “He is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27) Yes, God really cares about you!
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Jehovah’s concern for us is seen in many ways
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Even young children can draw close to God
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Today, Jehovah helps us to endure. In due time, he will remove sickness and death