Does God care?
This question is the focus for 2022 as we look at women of the Bible who were sad, scared, excluded, angry, frustrated, anxious, sick, regretful, etc. Each month we will look at a different emotion that is universal in all our lives and research women in the Bible who experienced the same feelings that we have today. Furthermore, we will examine God’s care at work in their lives and ours.
SO, DOES GOD CARE WHEN I’M HOPELESS?
This is January’s question and one that many people are asking during this time when a pandemic continues to rage, unrest between countries is increasing, inflation continues to get worse, violence & crime are rising exponentially, and God has been all but forgotten in our governments and many sectors of society. According to one study, 51% of young people feel down, depressed, or hopeless, which is certainly contributing to the high suicide rate.
With all the tribulation, it seems that we live in a time of hopelessness like no other. But is that true?
Read one historian’s account of why he thinks 536 was the worst year thus far. Of course, the bubonic plague in 1347 was a terrible scourge. Then in 1918 the Spanish Flu killed 100 million people worldwide. The world’s Great Depression, was no picnic. And WW 2 was a time of great misery losing 70-85 million lives because a madman wanted to take over the world.
NO, TROUBLED TIMES AND HOPELESSNESS IS NOTHING NEW TO MAN OR WOMAN!
Without a doubt, this feeling goes back to the beginning of time. Yes, literally to the beginning of time. Don’t think Eve felt hopeless when she was banished from the garden?
I know we tend to blame Eve for paradise lost and the fallen world we live in today. However, did you ever consider how she felt as God “drove” her and Adam out of the garden into a barren unknown world? Unquestionably, she experienced guilt, fear, and yes, hopelessness in that moment. Did God care she felt hopeless?
Let’s look at His actions. From the very beginning, God knew redemption was on its way. In the meantime, He provided for the needs of this disobedient woman.
The couple was embarrassed by their nakedness, hence God demonstrated His concern by making garments of skin for Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3: 10, 21)
Additionally, God did not want to punish them forever. Therefore, He put the tree of life out of reach so they would not live forever in their sin. (Genesis 3:22)
Genesis 4: 1 tells us Eve knew her children came from God. Yes, God allowed her to know the joy of holding her child in her arms along with having the companionship of a husband. It was an honor to raise the first family, through which (like all of us) she experienced joy and pain.
Yes, God still cared for Eve and brought her out of hopelessness.
MARY MAGADALENE ALSO KNEW THAT HOPELESS FEELING
Seven demons possessed her – talk about feelings of hopelessness. Jesus saved her from these demons and her life turned to one of hope and joy following and supporting her Savior. (Luke 8: 1-3)
Moreover, she experienced hopelessness later when she arrived at the empty tomb. The Bible tells us that Jesus stood behind her as she cried. Actually, Do you think Jesus shook His head at her obtuseness. After, all He told her and the other followers He would rise on the third day!
Nonetheless, Jesus is patient with sorrowful Mary, but also messes with her a little bit. Instead of identifying himself Jesus asks her, “Dear woman why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Mary still doesn’t get it – she thinks Jesus is the gardener.
Then He says it: MARY. And she immediately knows. I believe that one word encompassed Isaiah 43:1 “I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43: 1b).
Yes, Jesus cared Mary felt hopeless and comforted her that day. Mary Magdalene knew she was His and was redeemed.
Other women whose hope returned though God’s mercy include: Naomi (Book of Ruth), Elizabeth (Luke 1:25) and Anna (Luke 3: 36-38).
SO, DOES GOD CARE WHEN I’M HOPLESS?
Like everyone reading this post, my life has had its ups and downs and there were times I asked: Does God care when I’m hopeless?
It was a day like any other, except that I was going through a very unexpected divorce. As I drive to work I touched the chain around my neck. Hanging from the chain is a diamond heart; a present from my husband and the best piece of jewelry I own. He was excited to give me this gift and because it was special I wore it often. Reconciling the man who chose this thoughtful gift to the person moving out of our home is impossible. I touched the necklace again; somehow it makes me feel closer to him.
The seatbelt is annoying, and when I pull on the strap, the chain breaks, and my heart falls to the floor. Frantically searching the car, I can’t find it anywhere; just like the jewelry, my heart is broken and my marriage lost. I leaned over the steering wheel sobbing.
“Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble” (Psalm 10:1 NIV)? My husband is leaving; are you deserting me too?
Yes, I felt hopeless during this time in my life. But God brought a verse to my mind: ” Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on” (Exodus 14:15).
THIS IS ALL I GET? IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON!
God, you don’t seem to understand! My husband is a deacon and lay Pastor. I am the Sunday school superintendent and a Sunday school teacher. I can’t be a divorced woman.
But Exodus 14:15 was all I got, along with a push to get back into His word. So, for the next few weeks I spent time in prayer and Bible study and stumbled across the Book of Ruth. As I read her story I can’t help but notice that my reaction differs from Ruth’s response to a similar situation.
You see, Ruth’s life was also changing; she was a young widow moving to a new land with a bitter and discouraged mother-in-law. However, unlike me, Ruth didn’t lecture God on why she deserved better. I learned a lot by studying how this Biblical woman moved on.
Trying to emulate Ruth my attitude changed and I envisioned the future in a more positive light. There were many trials, but there was also exciting and new adventures, and eventually a new husband and family, which brought joy to my life.
Does God care when I’m hopeless? Yes, and he answers with renewed hope. Check out my very first post: Moving On to read more about this difficult time and how God brought hope back to my life.
What about you? Do you have a life event where God brought hope out of hopelessness? Share your account with our readers in the comment section below. It may uplift your sisters in Christ.
If you prefer, share an applicable Bible verse or whatever is on your heart. If you are feeling hopeless, let us know so we can pray for you.
Next month we will look at the question: Does God care when I am frustrated?
“And He shall strengthen your heart all you who HOPE in the Lord.” Ps 31:24
I am using Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Today: enjoying Hope through His Presence, in my devotional time. Such an encouragement! As is your thought provoking article today. Thank you.
Love the Bible verse. There are so many Psalms that take us from hopelessness to hopefulness in a few short verses! Thanks for taking the time to share.