Who Am I That God Would Care ...
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalm 8:3-4, KJV).
I don’t watch the news much anymore. I know that it will contain information about so many dramatic things in the world that it will only depress and sadden me.
The war in Ukraine, flash floods, fires, tornados, the latest pandemic, shootings in our city streets, kidnappings and human trafficking, and more is all reported on a 24-hour news cycle. And these are just the things that the modern Mass Media machine chooses to report on. You don’t hear about the war of the military junta on the Kachin and other tribal peoples in Myanmar or the oppression of other people groups around the world or the ways in which all of these travesties are affecting the poor, the homeless and the oppressed.
The thing is, when I hear about all these crises and people in need, all the hurt and anguish going on, on the one hand, it reminds me of how blessed I am, and on the other, it makes me wonder if God has time for me and my little problems.
It sounds selfish, I know … but we all experience that feeling. The older sibling getting jealous of the younger’s needs being cared for by mommy is even older than Esau and Jacob … it might even go back as far as Cain and Abel! We question not just “Do our parents or loved ones still have time for us?” but “Does our God… our Creator… still care for us?” Do I dare reach out for help??
Then I remember the story of another who had doubts about God’s ability to pay attention to her needs … not about God’s ability to help … but about God’s (Jesus’) desire to help. So, she audaciously reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment believing that by doing so she would be healed (Mark 5:25-34).
She didn’t know what Jesus was going to do … and what He did surprised her.
He stopped and asked who had touched Him … not because He was angry or upset … but because He wanted to bless her even more … He wanted to call attention to the fact that He was available to all who would reach out or call upon Him.
Let me be clear. You cannot take from Jesus … from God … what God doesn’t want to give to you. God desired to heal the woman … to make her life whole. It was not the woman’s audacity at reaching out to touch the hem of His garment … it was not even her great faith. It was Christ’s desire to bless her because she was His own creation.
David understood this truth when he wrote the Psalm. He had already experienced God’s grace and understood God’s desire to love and to care for us. He wrote:
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen,
yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea,
and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas (Psalm 8:5-8, KJV).
Rather than being a God that is too busy to care about your needs … the need to deal with the grief of a terminal illness … the need to overcome loneliness and separation caused by the economies of this world …the need to find wholeness and healing from addictions or depression … the need to find meaning in your life and work … the need to find love and companionship … whatever your need may be … God cares. He made you … he made me … he made our friends and our families all to be His most special of all Creation. And so, even in the midst of the eternal crises of our world, God not only has time for you, but wants to stop, take time to see you and for you to see Jesus’ face, and to know that our faith in Him will make us whole.
When we do this, then we can echo in prayer the words of David that begin and end this Psalm.
O Lord our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains