While on vacation this summer, at a road construction zone in Missouri was a sign saying, "Don't barrel through work zones – MODOT cares." "That's nice," I thought smugly as I drove the reduced speed limit leading a line of antsy drivers. Shortly thereafter was a billboard saying, "New Life Evangelistic Center Cares." The coincidence struck me so I kept reading signs just to see who else cared. I didn't see any more such signs, but that doesn't mean no one else cares.
Some people's care seems to do more harm than good. Tongue-in-cheekly, Mark 5:25-34 says that the woman with the bleeding issue suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors. The translators probably meant well in their interpretation of the original Greek and if the doctors did cause her more suffering, it's likely they thought it necessary to cure her. If you've read anything about possible drug side effects, it's likely you've seen something like, "Your doctor prescribed this medication for you because he/she feels that any detrimental side effects you experience will be outweighed by the benefits."
Signs of God's care for us are found throughout the Bible. He cares even when nobody else we know cares (Psalm 142:3-5; 8:1-9). Subtle signs of God's care include meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and even breath (Psalm 65:9-13; Matthew 6:25-34; Acts 17:24, 25). More importantly, he sent the Son of Man (Jesus) to meet our greatest need and overcome our greatest fears (John 3:16; Luke 19:10; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 5:6-7).
In giving his life for our sins, Jesus the bore the full measure of God's wrath by being abandoned on the cross and chased into the darkness reserved for the wicked (1 Peter 2:22-24; Matthew 20:28; 27:45-46; Luke 23:44-46). Because Jesus died in love for us and obedience to God, God raised him from the dead. We're also to die to sin by indentifying with his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (Hebrews 5:7-9; Acts 2:22-24, 36-39; Romans 6:3-11).
We're saved by God's grace, but being crucified with Christ through baptism does not set aside that grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:24-25; Colossians 2:11-13). God's grace is nothing to be smug about. He considers those who don't recognize his love and our reliance on him for life to be wicked because they've trampled under foot his gesture of love and care (Psalm 55:22, 23; Romans 1:18-21; Nahum 1:2-8; Hebrews 10:26-31).
God's care for us always brings about good (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). When the lady touched Jesus clothes and was healed, Jesus forced her to publicly declare her faith at which time she received complete healing because she acted upon her faith (James 2:17, 24, 26; Acts 26:19-20). God cares enough to let us know that, having heard of his love, we also must act upon our faith through repentance, confession (Romans 10:8-17), baptism (Acts 22:16), and Christian living (Revelation 2:10) to avoid being counted among the wicked.
Do you care enough about yourself to act on God's love?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org