DOES JESUS CARE?

This is the first month of a brand new year. Last year was a challenging time for many. From hurricanes to earthquakes to wildfires, our nation suffered a lot of devastation in 2018. Maybe you suffered a personal tragedy last year. Perhaps you lost a loved one. Maybe you battled a major illness in 2018. It’s possible someone hurt you deeply. Perhaps you are beginning the new year divorced even after months of trying to save your marriage. The list could go on for paragraphs. Emotional strain can come from many different sources; therefore, it’s possible you are kicking off 2019 with a weary soul.

Scripture often reminds believers that the life experiences of Christians today are no different than what the people of the Bible experienced. The writers of the Bible understood what emotional pain felt like. Even David experienced hardship and emotional distress because of relationships. While David recorded his turmoil, he did not lose hope. David writes in Psalm 142:3-5, “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.  4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.  5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”

In Psalm 142 David is abandoned and crying out to the Lord (v. 1). David is pleading to God for mercy in the midst of his pain. David is living in isolation and has no one to defend him against his enemies. David’s circumstances made him feel helpless. There was no advocate coming to David’s side to help him in his time of need. David reached a time in his life when he felt as if no one cared.

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt like David? Have you ever felt abandoned or forsaken? It’s very likely that there have been a time in your life when you felt as if no one cared about you. Maybe you are beginning 2019 feeling alone, abandoned, and ready to give up. Perhaps even God feels far away right now. Maybe you feel isolated and shunned as you read these words. Perhaps you are losing hope in people because of the pain and disappointment you have suffered. More dangerously, you may be losing hope and confidence in God. Is your soul crying out to the Lord for help and mercy?

Admittedly, you live in a difficult world where people can hurt you. Disappoint you. Even abandon you. That is why David’s bold proclamation in verse five is so important for you to believe. Notice, David declared that God is his refuge and portion in this life. God was enough for David, and the psalmist was placing his life in His hands. In the New Testament, Peter encourages us to “cast all your anxieties on him (God), because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Do you believe God cares? Or have your anxieties overcome you? Even when people cause heartache, you must confidently anchor your life in Christ and believe He cares for you. Just when David was about to give up, he found hope and comfort in his God. You must learn to do the same.

As a child of God, you are cared for, even when you are facing difficulties and even when you don’t feel like anyone cares. Broken people do broken things. Regardless of the heartache people have caused in your life, God’s care for you has not changed, and through His power you can experience hope again. No matter your current circumstances, you must confidently believe in God’s merciful concern for your life.

It’s possible that it’s difficult to believe that God cares for anyone. But remembering that God does love His children is important in your times of loneliness and despair. Allow me to offer four actions that will help you through the times when you feel as if no one, including God, cares about what happens to you.

First, ask yourself why you feel like no one--including God--cares. What is the source of these feelings? When did they start? Begin by considering your life situation as objectively as possible. Ask yourself, “Is it really true that no one cares?” Seek help from a trusted family member or friend to get an accurate picture of your life. Your feelings can deceive you and produce a skewed view of your situation.

Often people feel as if no one cares because there is a specific person or group of people they are focusing on that appear to be rejecting them. But even if it feels like someone doesn’t care, your feelings may be inaccurate. Perhaps the person or group you’re focusing on isn’t good at showing they care. Or maybe, and more likely, the person or group is showing their care and concern differently than you would. This can leave you feeling like they don’t care about you because they are expressing their concern in a way that does not resonate with you. For instance, maybe the person may drop by or send you a text without specifically asking if you’re okay. In their mind the contact says they care, but you want to be asked more directly. In this case, you may be assuming something that is inaccurate.

It’s also possible that the person or persons are not as aware of your situation as you believe. It’s possible you have not communicated your need for support in a specific manner. Sometimes people are overwhelmed with significant problems or challenges of their own, leaving them distracted by their own emotional pain. In this case, try to support the other person first. We are always quick to see our own burdens without always stopping to consider what other people are dealing with.

You also have to consider the possibility that you have become prickly, calloused, or too difficult to allow yourself to receive support from others. Perhaps you have turned people away with your attitude or unrealistic expectations. Remember, only Jesus is the Messiah. Are you putting your hope in a fallible human being that is your functional messiah? Sometimes feeling like no one cares is a self-fulling prophecy because wounded people often push others away and barricade themselves behind protective walls.

Second, realize that feeling lost, confused, isolated, and unwanted (i.e., like no one cares about you) is far more common than you may think. If you feel abandoned and rejected, I promise, you are not alone. Most people struggle to some degree with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness from time to time. Some people are simply better at hiding their emotions than others. Whatever you do, please don’t assess someone’s emotional status by their social media posts. Based on social media feeds people are always happy and loving life. But you must remember that people only post what they want you to see. And what they want you to see is just how perfect their lives are. But social media is not an accurate representation of people’s reality. When you feel like nobody cares about you, remember that you are not alone. Your feelings are a normal part of being human, and these feelings don’t change the fact that God does care for you.

Third, understand that you are not the center of the universe. I know that sounds harsh, but the course of this world does not depend on you. Everyone has family and/or a few close friends who care and take interest in various aspects of life. Everyone has those who are willing to offer assistance when needed. (Whether or not people are humble enough to ask is another matter). But here is the hard truth you must accept: no one cares about you nearly as much as you care about yourself. Ultimately, you’re not the first person on anyone’s mind but your own. The only person always on your mind is you.

When properly understood, this truth is incredibly freeing and valuable. I recently read a Forbes magazine article that argued that other people don’t remember your mistakes as long as you do. Yes, there are bitter people who sinfully keep records of real or perceived wrongs, but they really don’t care about anyone but themselves anyway. I hate to break it to you, but people don’t talk about you as much as you imagine. You’re not the center of their universe; therefore, don’t expect people to treat you as such. Make sure God is the center of your universe and stop dwelling on other people. The sooner you can get your focus off yourself the sooner you will experience lasting joy and peace.

Finally, choose to think biblically. You must do this daily. Don’t blindly accept every passing idea that enters your mind. You must wage war against the incorrect thinking that quickly dominates your mind. Satan would love for you to believe the lie that you’re not good enough, lovable, or valuable. Your adversary would love to convince you that God doesn’t care about you. If you allow your mind to dwell on ideas that are not true, you will find it difficult to trust in God’s love.

God created you with a longing in your heart for Him. This longing isn’t fulfilled by social media, movies, music, sports, career, ministry, or even other people. You were created with a yearning for deep connection and true meaning in your life that hinges on your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Fulfillment is found in God alone.

In a sinful world, it is possible to find people who don’t care about you. In Psalm 142 David had people in his life that did hate him. David’s enemies didn’t care about him or what happened to him. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s one you must accept. Instead of dwelling on the person or group of people who may not care about you, however, choose to believe that the merciful God who created you loves you more than you’ll ever know. And God’s love is all sufficient. Your Heavenly Father will never stop caring about you. He will never give up on you. Find rest and refuge in His care, and leave your enemies to the Lord.

You cannot truly love others until you learn to trust in God’s love and accept Him as your portion in this life. When you feel as if no one cares, simply look up and remember that your Almighty God loves you more than any human possibly can. You can’t trust yourself to believe and think correctly without a continual relationship with Jesus Christ. Draw closer to Him, cast all of your anxieties on Him, and choose to believe that God cares. Tell yourself that truth over and over every day and keep Satan’s lies at bay.

Rejections hurt. When people reject you, doubt, uncertainty, loneliness, and pain are the result. Even if all of your family and friends have rejected you for some reason, God still loves you. People are fickle and their love is too often conditional. God’s love and care, however, is always faithful and never based on your performance. God knows your most intimate thoughts and actions, and yet He still calls you His beloved child. When you feel as if no one cares, take a moment and reflect on David’s declaration. Boldly proclaim, “God, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5). When God is enough, the wounds of people are unable to destroy your joy and peace. Resolve to remember and believe this simple truth: God cares about you, and His love for you will never change!

 

Jay Knolls