Jeanne Takenaka Have you ever asked yourself this: does God care—really care—when I’m walking through hard times?
Recently, a friend texted asking me to pray. When we talked later, she shared the heartbreaking, soul-wearying things going on in her life right now. She said she didn’t understand why God allowed these things.
And honestly? I had no answers for her. I refused to fall back on the cliched sayings that God is good and will work everything out. That His ways are higher . . . that if we keep following Him, we’ll know His peace, in time.
These statements are all true, but in the moment of pain, I’m not sure any of these truths minister to a hurting heart. In the moment, sometimes the best thing we can do is not try to make it all better. Not say the perfect thing that will erase the pain.
Nothing erases some pain. And though God walks with us in the middle of our valleys, He doesn’t remove the pain from our lives.
Because God allows wrenching circumstances into our lives, does that mean He’s not good? That’s He’s left us because we committed some unknown wrong? Does it mean that He’s with us when life is good, but when it’s hard he says, “See ya on the other side!”? Does it mean God doesn’t care about us?
I believe God’s heart aches when His children walk through difficult seasons. He weeps with those who weep. Yet, He permits pain to do some hard, sculpting work in our hearts and lives.
Walking Through Hard Seasons
When we flounder in the center of those dark seasons, we always, always have a choice. We can get mad at God and turn away from Him, because He seems so unfair. Or, we can bring our tears—our brokenness—to Him, choosing faith, in the middle of the pain.
Choosing faith can cause us to feel helpless in the middle of the trial. It’s after time has passed and we’ve yielded our anger, our hurt, our confusion to our Father that we will be able to look back and see His fingerprints on that season of our lives.
We will each face situations we simply cannot understand this side of heaven. Loved ones dying. Job loss. Diagnoses. Pain inflicted on us by others. The question we must grapple with is what will we do in response to the unanswered “Why?”
In When God Doesn’t Make Sense, author James Dobson reminds us that even having a strong faith doesn’t guarantee a happy life. Rather, faith almost assures us the world will abuse us. We may never see the purpose of struggles here on earth. But we can know God keeps His promises to us.
Does God Care?
Hard seasons are not a new phenomenon. From the time Cain killed Abel, to Joseph being imprisoned unfairly, to David being pursued by Saul for seven years, to prophets being murdered, straight down to this day, good people face painful seasons. God isn’t surprised by circumstances. He walked through them with each of these people.
When we’re in the middle of painful, impossible-to-understand situations, it’s easy to ask, “does God care?” we must remember our Father walks beside us through our trials.Does God Care When Painful Things Happen to Us? When we’re in the middle of painful, impossible-to-understand situations, it's easy to ask, does God care? we must remember He walks beside us through our trials #tellhisstory… Click To Tweet
Don’t mistake God’s seeming silence for Him not caring.Does God Care When Painful Things Happen to Us? Don’t mistake God’s seeming silence for Him not caring. #tellhisstory #doesgodcare #perspective Click To Tweet
Our Father cares about us and what we’re enduring. The book of Matthew tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Believing in Jesus doesn’t protect us from life’s storms. But it does ensure He walks through the rainy seasons with us.
We rarely control our circumstances. But we can control our response.
How should we respond when the question ‘Does God Care?’ comes to mind?
I want to deep dive into some of this next time. But here are a few things that will help us with our mindsets, even when the question, “Does God Care?” runs through our minds.
Remember God’s character
He is a good God, even when it seems like He’s allowing horrible things. Find Bible verses that remind us of who He is and write them on a card we carry with us. Read or/and memorize these verses for when our emotions are struggling with our reality.
Determine what we believe about God
Do we believe the Bible is true? Our answer makes all the difference in how we walk through difficult situations
Search the Bible for examples of others who have gone through similar circumstances
Learn from their example—either good or bad.
Don’t let our emotions influence our faith and what we believe
When we’re discouraged or depressed about our situation, we aren’t thinking clearly. This is why we must know what we believe and fall back onto that foundation when our emotions are revved.
When our sons were toddlers, there was a time when I had to restrain each of them so they could receive a life-saving shot. When the needle pierced the skin, they each glared at me through teary eyes, as if I’d betrayed them. Though I hated seeing them in pain, I knew the shots were something they needed.
Maybe that’s how God is with us. He sees the pain of our circumstances, but He also sees the benefits that will come afterward. Whatever else we believe in our painful seasons, let’s hold on to the truth that our heavenly Father does care. He loves us and walks with us through those times.
What about you? What have you learned about God’s character when it seemed like He was distant? Is there a verse you cling to when hard seasons come and God seems silent?
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