Does God Care?

As one who observes life’s happenings, it is not uncommon for one to feel like Solomon while he was writing the book of Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 Solomon says:

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:

As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.

We grow up hearing nice things like: “All men are created equal” and “if you work hard you will live a happy life” but it doesn’t take much living for one to realize that although these sayings sound good on paper, they are not always true. In my 20 years of life, I have come to the sad reality that the race is not always won to the swift but that chance, indeed, does happen to everyone. In this light, it is so easy for one to question if God cares for his creation. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are there so many that die from starvation? Why are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Why doesn’t God just intervene and make things perfect? These questions are very valid and they demand a logical response. We often are quick to point the finger to God for the issues of this world but the sad question that we must face is: what good would it do for God to intervene and make everything perfect if mankind will just mess it up again? Remember, in the garden, after all of creation was made God said it was good, but when man disobeyed God, sin entered and corrupted this perfect world. This is the root of the problem. The reason why there are so many issues in the world is because people are so unwilling to be obedient. In Matthew 22:37-40, when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment Jesus replied with two:

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets

God’s greatest commands to man are to love Him and our fellow man but it is because we don’t love our fellow man that there is so much suffering in the world. If we kept just these two commandments, the world would be a better place. The thing I love about Ecclesiastes is that Solomon gets depressed about life because he realizes how vain it could be but the one thing he professes not to be vain is keeping God’s commandments. For he says in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Therefore, rather than asking: “Does God Care?” We should ask, do we care enough to obey God’s commands?

Is There Bad Reception With God?

Have you ever felt that the environment you were in or the people you hung around could hinder your communication with God? I grew up in the “projects” and the “projects” are not comfortable places to live. It is commonplace for one to see spit in the elevator, or a box with a picture and candles of the young man who was shot the night before. One may even be greeted by the young lady who is strung out on crack because one young man decided that he will not live to make an honest living. Such an environment can depress you and even desensitize you as a person.

I remember telling my brother that I would do something to change our community. I said, “Maybe if we could have workshops on community development and pray our community could change.” Then my brother gave me the most surprising response ever. He told me “ forget it! It’s useless; God can’t hear your prayers in this place. It’s a swamp. Just as you can’t get reception in a swamp you can’t get reception here. He later added, “ Besides you can’t clean a swamp and even if you successfully do, you will mess up the Eco-system.” “You will be doing more harm than good.” “Where will all the “swamp animals” live?” He concluded with a passionate plea and said, “you go against prophecy if you do this.” “For Jesus said the poor will always be with you.” “If God puts a man in a certain mindset, and you try to open the mind of that man, you go against God.”

This was discouraging for me to hear from my younger brother and I showed empathy for what seemed be a hopeless situation but I sought the scriptures for advice and was comforted by this passage in Psalms 139:7-12

7. Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8. If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Hell, behold, You are there.

9. If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

10. Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

11. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”

12. Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

In this Passage, David is writing about how God’s presence has been everywhere in his life and even in places we don’t expect. It is encouraging to me because it shows me that no matter how bad my environment is, that nothing can separate me from the love of God or my ability to communicate with him. It amazes me that Jesus grew up in Nazareth. A place that was so bad that when it was heard the Messiah was from Nazareth, Nathaniel asked “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” And Phillip replied “come and see.” Therefore the question lies before you. Can I get any reception to God in my environment? My challenge for you is to try and see.