The Christian Way of approaching Adversity (Part 6) – The God who knows and cares
Sunday English Service – 18 APR 21
I haven’t spoken for a couple of weeks. But before that, we started a series and we were doing a series called, “The Christian Approach to Suffering”; The Christian Approach to Suffering or Adversity. And we covered, we’ve already given five messages on that topic: three from James chapter 1, two from 2nd Corinthians chapter 1; very text-based sermons there, right.
Today, I’m not going to take one main text and preach from it, as I have done for those five weeks; today, the approach is going to be a little different but this is still relevant to our topic. One of the important Christian things to do; as a Christian, how do you approach adversity? When adversity strikes, when difficulties come and trials come, how do you respond as a Christian? One of the important things a Christian ought to do, is to remind himself of certain very basic and simple truths about his God. One of the things we need to do, in times of difficulty and trial and challenges is, simply remind ourselves about very simple and basic truths that we already know about our God. You know, we are a forgetful people. And so, the Bible says, “Forget not all His benefits”. We keep our car keys in our pocket, and we forget, right? That’s how forgetful we are. So, we forget eternal truths, sometimes. We forget great, divine truths sometimes, because that’s just our nature; part of the fallen nature, perhaps, is to forget. So, we all need a reminder of many things. And we need a reminder about these simple truths about God because these simple truths, they may be simple, but they are powerful.
They asked once, a great theologian was asked; in fact, the theologian is highly respected, considered one of the best or most respected theologians of the 20th century. Once he was asked this question, they said, “What is the most profound truth you know from the Bible? What is the most profound truth you know from the Bible?” And it seems, he paused and he thought, pondered. And after quite a while, he replied, in this way, he said, “This is what I think the most profound truth is: Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. If you know those words, you know it’s a song, usually sung by the children. Right? Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. We call it a children’s church song. We wouldn’t sing it here. It’s considered too childish or whatever. That’s how he responded; they were shocked. Because here is this great, you know, theologian, known for his profound insights into the scriptures. And he’s saying the most profound thing in the Bible is, Jesus loves me and I know this. This, I know, for the Bible tells me so. What he’s trying to say is, he went on to explain, he said, “There’s nothing bigger than this. Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, the One who created the heavens and the earth, through whom, by whom all things were made, He loves me. Is there a greater truth than that? This I know; is there something greater to know? How do I know this? For the Bible tells me so. There’s an example of a simple truth. But knowing that one truth, for sure, can drive out all the worry and all the fear and can give you all the confidence and the strength you need, to stand through your trial. Right?
Similar to that simple truth, I want to share today, two very simple truths about God. And the truths are this: one is, God knows; secondly, God cares. God knows. God cares. Would you say that after me? “God knows; God cares”. That’s nothing new for you. I know that. It’s very simple. I know that, right? It’s as simple as it gets. God knows; God cares. We’ll talk about what He knows, and how He knows, and how well He cares, and so on. We’ll talk about that. But this is not something new for any of us, I think. Anybody who has been in the Christian faith or even, you know, knows a little bit, knows that God knows and God cares. These are very simple, kind of, you know, statements, simple truths, you may think. But these are very powerful truths. And these are what you need in your time of adversity. When you’re going through challenges, my friend, you need to remind yourself that God knows and God cares. And I’m here today to remind you. That’s my main goal.
Sometimes, you know, in preaching, we try to do different things; we try to explain. Sometimes, we try to prove; sometimes, we try to apply. But sometimes, the main thing is, we just remind you, that’s all. Today, is a reminder. It’s nothing new for you; you know what I’m about to say but I’m just here to remind you of what you already know. Because sometimes, unless we are reminded, we won’t actually benefit from it. Unless we remind ourselves, we won’t actually benefit from it. It’s like having that vitamin tablet in your house; you know where it is, you know you’ve got to take it, you know it’s good for you, but you forget, right? So, what I’m doing today is, simply taking the tablet that’s already there, right? You already know where it is, you know all about it; I’m just taking it and stretching it out to you and saying, “Please take it today. It will produce some good effect”. That’s all I’m doing. I’m just reminding you of these basic but powerful truths: God knows and God cares. And when you really take this in, when you really bring it before your eyes, and when you really focus on it and meditate on it, I tell you, it will make a big difference in how you face your problems. It will make a huge difference. I’m not saying instantly the problem will go away. But I’ll tell you one thing, the worry and the fear will go away. And the confidence will come. And that’s the first step to overcoming our difficulties, our challenges and going through them and coming out successfully. So, let’s look at these two truths; simple but powerful. Let’s remind ourselves God knows, God cares.
First: God knows. Let’s start by what He knows, how He knows. God is all-knowing, He’s omniscient. He’s omniscient, all-knowing. That means, He knows everything, about everything. God’s knowledge, we can put it in three-fold in in this way. God’s knowledge is vast; God’s knowledge is specific; God’s knowledge is personal. God’s knowledge is vast; and at the same time, it is specific, down to the last detail; and it is also personal, which means, He knows you. He knows you. Right? Let me say it a different way. God’s knowledge is wide. God’s knowledge is deep. And God’s knowledge is personal. Let me just briefly explain those three and then, we will apply that.
How vast, how wide is God’s knowledge? The Scriptures teach this, you know, in Psalm 147, verse 4. Most of the Scriptures we’ll read today, are familiar verses, but nevertheless, we all need a reminder. Psalm 147, verse 4: He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. We have difficulty just remembering names of our acquaintances, and so on. Here, it’s talking about the names of stars; the number of the stars. Do you know how many stars there are? Have you ever thought about how many stars are up there? How many stars are there in the universe? Abraham was asked by God once, “Look at the sky, can you count the stars – can you number them? Your seed – I will make your seed like the stars of the sky”, God said. People have tried to number them; people have tried to count; scientists have tried but they have not really counted, because they can’t. It’s impossible to count the number of stars in the universe, but they do give an estimate. And the estimate I saw, is 100 billion – 100 billion stars, they say, must be there. That’s their good estimate. The thing is, God knows exactly the number. And not only that, He calls them by their name, “He gives to all of them their names”. It seems He has a name for each star. He calls the star by his name. Amazing. How vast, how wide is His knowledge? It spans the entire existence. Every star is known by Him, numbered by Him, named by Him, called by its name.
Then, verse 5 says, the next verse. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. That’s what we’re talking about – His understanding, His knowledge. His understanding is beyond measure – you cannot measure it; omniscient understanding and knowing all. It’s so vast, His knowledge is so wide, so vast, but at the same time, it is very specific. He knows everything but at the same time, if you take anything, He knows it down to the last detail. He knows every little detail about everything. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus talks about how God knows things down to the last detail. Matthew chapter 10, verse 29, Jesus is talking to people who are afraid and worried, He says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” – Matthew 10:29. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” For one penny? The penny, what is translated a penny here, is the smallest, they say, is the smallest coin value. They didn’t have notes back then, they had coins. So, it was the smallest valued coin, right. There’s nothing smaller; no smaller unit than that. That’s the smallest. And, you know, the sparrows in those days, had such a low value, that they did not even sell for one sparrow per penny. One Sparrow was not even worth one penny. So, for one penny, you can get two sparrows. Jesus is saying, in the eyes of the world, the sparrow has no value. No value, so much so, that for one penny, you can get two sparrows. Even one Sparrow, is not worth the smallest coin; it’s worth only half that. And He’s saying, “Are not two sparrows sold for one penny?” And then look what He says, “And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father”. Right? The contrast is: for one penny, people are buying two sparrows. It’s so cheap. There’s no value in the eyes of the world. And yet, not one of them will fall to the ground, apart from your Father, means, apart from your Father, knowing; apart from your Father, knowing, right. Not a single sparrow, even though a sparrow has no value in the eyes of human beings, they sell two for one penny, but it has value in the eyes of God. And He knows when even one Sparrow falls to the ground. This God, who knows all the stars in the universe and numbers them and counts them and gives them names, He also knows when one sparrow falls to the ground. He knows in detail, down to the last detail.
God’s knowledge is vast, wide, at the same time, specific, down to the last detail. Deep. His wide and deep, vast and specific knowledge, is directed towards you. His knowledge is personal, His knowledge his personal. Personal, meaning, it relates to me, right? Why does Jesus talk about sparrows? Not because sparrows are the main topic. Look where He goes next, after talking about the sparrows in verse 29. He says, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered”. Forget the sparrows. He says, “The hairs on your head are all” – forget the stars – “the hairs on your head are all numbered”. We don’t even think about things like that. Even, I love my children, but I’ve never tried to count the hairs on their head. The hairs on my head are numbered. Just think about that. Even the hairs – this is Jesus talking – “even the hairs of your head are all numbered”. What’s the point of all this? Verse 31: Fear not, therefore; – see the point? God knows everything, even the last sparrow and how many hairs on your head you’ve got? And so, “Fear not” – that’s the point. Fear not. He realized how much God knows you.
Let me remind you: Psalm 139, verse 1 to 4 – wonderful Psalm, talking about God’s knowledge of us; how He knows us. Psalm 139, verse 4, look at this; let’s read it: O Lord, You have searched me and known me! In the Tamil Bible, it comes out like this: [Tamil] That means, you have researched me and known me. God has researched me. Isn’t that an amazing thought? God has researched you. That means, He knows every little thing about you. He’s searched you and known you. You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You are over there but yet, You know what I’m thinking about, out here, you know. Verse 3, You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. You know everything about me; all my ways. Verse 4, Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all together. You know everything. Even before I utter a word, You know the next word, I’m going to speak. And the word I’m going to say tomorrow. You know everything. So vast and specific is His knowledge toward us. So wide and deep is His knowledge toward us. He knows us like that – widely. Everything there is to know about us and He knows us deeply, specifically, down to the last thought, down to the last word. You know, they say, there are thousands of thoughts that run through our head every day; thousands, every day. Even we forget but God knows every last thought, every last word. It’s amazing. His knowledge is wide and it is deep and it is personal. He knows me. He knows me.
Now, how does this make a difference for us, in the days that we’re living in today? How does this help us face our challenges and so on? You know, when we’re going through difficult circumstances in life, sometimes we feel like nobody knows what I’m going through. You had that feeling? Nobody knows what I’m going through. But the truth is, God knows. That’s how it helps you. Maybe nobody else knows; it’s possible for nobody else to know, I guess that’s possible. But God knows and that’s what counts. The most important person in the universe, knows what you’re going through. Because He knows everything there is to know about you. He knows every detail. God knows your problem, thoroughly. God has researched your problem, thoroughly. He knows everything there is to know about your problem. He knows what you’re going through; He knows what you need; He knows everything. Think about that, my friend. When you realize, that God knows, what I’m going through, that itself will give you some comfort. Not only comfort, it will give you some strength, and it will give you some hope. When you realize that God knows deeply, what you’re going through, that itself will give you comfort, strength and hope. You know, I’ll give you an illustration. Say 100 – 150 years back, there was no cell phone, there was no WhatsApp, and there was no way to communicate, so easily. So, imagine a time period like that, and a son, you know, leaves the family to go to a distant, far country to study or something like that. Just imagine something like that, right? So, the son goes away, to the other side of the world to study, and something bad happens. He faces great adversity; something very bad happens. And he ends up with nothing. And what does he want to do? He wants to let his father know. He wants his parents or his father to know, what he’s going through. Right? He’s in a distant country, in a foreign land; he knows nobody there. And his father, who can help him, is over there on the other side of the world. What does he want? He wants to let his father know. But in those days, there was no WhatsApp and there was no easy communication. So, maybe he sends a telegram. And the telegram reaches his father. And then he receives a telegram back, return, and says, received, got it. Just the fact, that his father now knows what he’s going through, will give him some level of comfort, strength, and hope. If his father is a man of some means, if his father really loves him, he knows, his father will do something, the next step. If he knows, then it follows, that he will do something. If he knows, it follows that he’s going to receive some help. If he knows, then it follows that things are going to get better. Just the realization that his father knows, will help him feel better, see. It will give him comfort. Not only that, strength and hope, that things will get better.
If you see, that’s the kind of connection Jesus makes. If you look at Matthew, chapter 6, Jesus makes this connection between: your Father knows, so don’t worry; your Father knows, so don’t fear. You saw the fear connection in Matthew 10; I showed you, right? Fear not, because the hairs of your head are numbered. Now look at Matthew 6; Matthew 6, verse 31. Again, it’s a familiar passage. But let’s look at this with a fresh mind, Matthew 6:31, Therefore do not be anxious – or worried – saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’. Notice, He is talking about basic necessities of life. He is saying, don’t be worried about basic things in life, very necessary things in life. He’s not talking about luxury items; He’s not talking about, you know, don’t be anxious, that you’re not able to afford the latest, or the most expensive car. No, no. He’s talking about very necessary things in life: food – what shall we eat? What shall we drink – water? Clothing. There’s nothing more necessary than that. Nothing more basic than that; every human needs it. And Jesus is saying – He has the nerve to say – Don’t even worry about the most basic necessities of life. Isn’t that strange? Did you see what He said? “Do not be anxious” – it’s a command. Don’t worry, saying, what shall we eat; what shall we drink or what shall we wear? If another man said it, you know, you will say, “How dare you say, don’t worry about what to eat?” Of course, I’ll worry about what to eat. Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry”, saying “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?”
Why you should not worry – look at the next verse: For the Gentile seek after all these things. What He’s saying is, the “Gentiles seek after” means, the Gentiles always think about this. The people who don’t know God, they’re always thinking about what to eat, you know? How am I going to meet the basic needs of my life? How am I going to, you know, get this or get that? How am I going to progress? How am I going to live tomorrow? They’re always thinking about that. They’re always worried about that, stressed about that, because they don’t know God. He’s saying, “You don’t be like them because you know God”. The Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father – now, here’s the key – your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all”. Everybody say: “My heavenly Father knows that I need all of it”. It’s wonderful how He says it. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be like the Gentiles, the ones who don’t know God. Realize that your heavenly Father knows. Realize that your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Your Father knows! That’s why I gave that illustration, saying, the son gets hope when the father knows, when he realizes that the Father knows.
Now the thing is, God always knows. God always knows. But the thing is, we don’t always know that God knows; that’s the problem. God always knows. The problem is, we don’t realize that God knows. We know, of course. This is, like I said, it’s a simple truth. God knows what I’m going through. It’s simple; it’s very simple. The thing is, we forget it. We need to remind ourselves about it, especially when we’re going through a trial, suffering, great, severe difficulties; God knows what I’m going through. And when you really realize that, that itself will give you hope. It will free you from your worry, it will free you from your worry. Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry, your Father knows; don’t worry, your Father knows”. When you pray, don’t pray as though God doesn’t know. That’s how the prayer comes, sometimes, when we’re in trouble, you know. God, you know, we want to tell Him all about the problem. It’s okay to tell Him about the problem. It’s okay to pour out your heart before God. No problem with that. Thing is, we shouldn’t do it with the mindset, that He, you know, normally we’re telling Him and normally He knows. No! He knows already! He knows already!
Jesus says, in Matthew (same chapter), if you go up to verse 8, He’s talking about praying to God. And in verse 7, 6 and 7, He says, “Don’t pray like the others, who just go on and on in the prayer”, you know, “using many words. Don’t be like them. Don’t pray these elaborate prayers”. And He gives one example of it in Matthew 6:8, He says, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him”. He’s saying, the others are praying these elaborate prayers, telling God what all they need, how much of a problem they’re in. Just waxing on and on about that. Don’t be like them. Realize, before you pray, who you’re praying to, and what He knows. He already knows what you’re going through. He knows your problem. Not only does He know your problem, He understands how you feel. He knows the pain you are going through. He knows the suffering.
When the Bible talks about knowing, knowledge, knowing; it’s not just a mental knowing. It’s a real, not just mind, knowing with the mind, but it’s knowing with the heart, you know, feeling it, experiencing it. All of that comes in that knowing and knowledge. God not only knows everything about your problem, and He knows what you need, but He also understands how you feel. He understands your pain. He identifies with your suffering. Sometimes, we go and tell people our problem, right? We explain it and we pour our heart out to people. Sometimes, we find that they don’t get it. They simply don’t get it. Have you seen that? They don’t get it. You pour out your heart before them and they don’t get it. Meaning, it doesn’t move them. It doesn’t create one ounce of reaction from them. You need their help and so, you pour out your heart and you tell them, your suffering, your pain, and they do nothing. They’re not moved by it. They can do – I’m talking about people who can do – but they don’t do because they’re not moved by it. They don’t understand you. They don’t get you; they do not feel what you feel. That’s very frustrating. When you realize, nobody understands my pain. But God understands your pain. God identifies with you. Our God is the only One to whom you can go and say, “I’m in so much pain, so much sorrow”. You can pour out your heart to God. And He will say, and He can say, “I know exactly how you feel”.
You read in the Psalms; there are many Psalms, where the psalmist is just literally pouring out his heart to God. It’s okay. When you’re frustrated, when you’re angry; it’s okay to go and pour out your heart to God. Don’t withdraw from God; better to come to him and pour out your heart to Him. That’s better. Don’t worry, He’s not going to be surprised by what you say. Because remember, He already knows the words of your mouth before they come out. And even if they don’t come out here, He knows the thoughts in your head. And nothing you say, or think or do can surprise Him. He knows everything. It is always better, even in the midst of pain, suffering and anger and frustration, to come to God, rather than withdraw from God. Come to God. And it’s okay if you don’t pray the perfect prayer, just pour out your heart and say, “God, I’m suffering; I’m in so much pain here”. Our God is the only One who can respond saying, “I know exactly what you feel; I know exactly what you feel”. In every other faith, in every other deity people believe in, right? No God can say I know exactly what you feel because they don’t go through the pain and suffering. But our God came down, lived like us, faced what we face; the same kind of challenges, the same kind of temptations, the same kind of adversities. In fact, suffered more than we have suffered or can ever suffer. And so, He can look at us and say, “I know exactly what you feel. I know exactly what you’re going through”.
Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize – I’m reading from the NIV, this particular verse alone. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. This verse is saying, we don’t have a high priest who’s just on, you know, disconnected from his people, just so exalted, that he knows nothing of what we feel. Not just knowing, feeling, right? He is not one who’s unable to empathize, means, He is able to empathize. That’s why I read from the King James, I mean, from the NIV here. Because some of the other translations just use ‘sympathize’. But, as you know, in English, there is a difference between ‘sympathy’ and ‘empathy’. Empathy is what is considered as a virtue, something good, not sympathy; empathy. Empathy is feeling what the other person feels, being able to identify them, being able to put yourself in their shoes. It’s not just feeling sorry for them. It’s feeling what they feel, and this verse says, “Jesus, our High Priest, today is on the throne. He reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But because of what He went through, He is able to empathize, identify with your pain and your suffering. So, this takes God’s knowledge to a whole other level. It’s not just knowing your problem, like knowing a subject, knowing physics or something like that. No, no, He knows your problem, meaning, He feels your problem. He feels your pain.
Look at Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 2:18 explains this a little more: For because He Himself has suffered when tempted – suffered when tempted. Jesus, Himself, the King Himself has suffered when tempted; the High Priest Himself, has suffered when tempted, and now He’s able to help those who are being tempted. He is able to help us today. Why? Not just because He’s on the throne and He’s King and He’s Lord. No, no. Not just because He has all the power and authority but also because He has gone through what we go through and more. He has suffered, what we suffer and more. He himself has suffered. He is able to help us. God understands how you feel. He understands your pain. He understands your predicament. He feels what you feel. Don’t be left thinking, nobody knows what I’m going through. Nobody understands how I feel. My friend, your God understands. The most important person in the world. And He understands and He identifies with you and He empathizes. Not only that, God knows how much you can handle. You see, when you’re going through problems and difficulties in life – adversity, trials – you don’t know how much you can handle. You don’t. I don’t. Nobody does. God knows how much you can handle.
Did Joseph know how much he could handle when he was a teenager? Just a teenager, just a little boy. And, and he, you know, just because he just mouthed off, he was thrown in a pit by his own brothers, sold into slavery, went to a foreign land. I mean, imagine what must have been going through his mind. Think about how he would have been thinking at that point. How am I going to handle this? How am I going to live through this? How am I going to live another day? How am I going to bear all this? Did Joseph know how much he was able to handle? No. Bible doesn’t talk about his psychological makeup; there are hints, you know. I don’t want to go into any of that but what I’m saying is, Joseph could not have known what he was capable of handling and bearing. If you had asked him and said, you know, can you bear being sold into slavery? Can you bear, you know, being in a foreign land with no support? Can you bear, you know, coming up and working hard and then being thrown in jail, falsely accused for a crime you did not commit? Can you bear all this? Can you bear years and years and years of weight? Can you bear? Can you bear? Can you handle it? You would’ve said, no way! No way. Joseph didn’t know. Guess who knew? God knew. God knew what he was capable of; God knew how much he could handle.
The reason I’m saying this is, sometimes, we’re in a difficulty; sometimes, we’re in a problem; we think, yeah, I can’t handle this. Right. I cannot handle this. I cannot live another day. I cannot handle this. My friend, God will not allow you to go through what you cannot handle. The Bible says it like that, itself. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:13. 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. Paul is saying, you’re going through, what everybody’s going through. Today, it’s very relevant – the whole world is going through problems. Right? No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 1 Corinthians 10:13. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. Isn’t that amazing? God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. You think you can’t handle; you say you can’t handle but you don’t know, what you can’t handle or can handle. Only God knows what you can handle. But if you’re going through something, that itself is proof, that you can handle it. Because if you couldn’t handle it, God would not have allowed you or allowed that temptation to fall upon you. He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. He will not stand by, you know, stand by and watch while you are tempted beyond your ability, while you are pressed beyond your ability, while you are challenged to beyond your ability. No! If you are being challenged today, you are able, based on the authority of God’s Word. I tell you; you are able. God only knows you are able. The whole world may think you’re not able; you may think you’re not able; you can’t handle one more day of this.
Like the Apostle Paul, remember? God, you know, just removed his thorn in the flesh. He prays, in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 12, remove this thorn in the flesh. I’ve had enough; I can’t bear it. What does God say? “My grace is sufficient for you”. No, He says, “It’s enough; My grace is enough. My grace is enough, that means, you can handle it. You think you can’t handle it? No, you can handle it because my grace is sufficient”. “My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. You think you’re so weak, fine. Where you are weak, my strength will fill you. And so, Paul responds by saying, “When I am weak, I am strong”. “I can handle it”. He says, I can handle it, means, I can handle it. Only God knows what you can handle, what you cannot handle, my friend. God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. Only God knows what is inside of you; the power that’s inside of you, the resilience that’s inside of you. Only God knows the faith that’s inside of you. Only God knows the determination you are capable of. Only God knows the endurance that you are capable of; the perseverance that’s inside of you. Beyond your ability, the Holy Spirit is inside of you, giving divine ability strength. Do you know the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you know how much power the Holy Spirit can give? Have you reached the end of what the Holy Spirit can do? No, my friend, nothing is impossible for Him. Even if you think there’s no way; I cannot handle it; I don’t have any strength. The Holy Spirit fills you with the strength. You do have strength by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can handle it. You just don’t know it. You can’t know it. Because you’re not God. You’re not all-knowing, all-knowledgeable. We are no-knowledgeable, no-knowing. We lack in knowing, we lacking knowledge. We don’t know ourselves. But God says, “Great is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity; He is in you, He strengthens you. He fills you with resurrection ability, resurrection power.
You know, 1 Corinthians 10:13, let me continue reading that. God is faithful. Everybody say: “God is faithful”. Faithful in what way? He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. He will not! He will not! If you are facing something, that itself, is proof that God has given you the ability or will give you the ability; has given you the strength or will give you the strength, to face it and overcome it. God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape. Everybody say: “Escape”. You know, a way of escape, He always provides – that’s what it says, isn’t it? He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. God wants you to be able to endure it. And He will ensure that you will endure it, by providing the way of escape, by strengthening you, increasing your ability. All this, God will do. God knows your strengths. God knows your weaknesses. You don’t; I don’t. God knows, not only, what you are today, but what you can be tomorrow. God knows, not only, what you’ve done, but what you’re capable of doing. Only God knows; you don’t know. God knows what He put inside of you. God knows how much you can handle. God knows how much inner strength and fortitude you have. God knows everything. That should give us great hope. Sometimes, we don’t know anything. Sometimes, we say that, right? I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know how I’m going to, you know, continue. I don’t know how I’m going to face this. I don’t know! I don’t know! You don’t have to know; many things, you don’t know. In fact, I don’t have to know anything. If you know one thing for sure, you can make it. It’s that God knows everything. If you know, if you’re convinced that God knows everything, that’s enough. Even if you don’t know anything. If you know this one thing, God knows everything about me. He knows what I’m going through, He knows what I need to handle. He knows how He can take me from here to there. How to get me out of this. He knows everything. If you’re sure about that, my friend, that is enough. Because once you realize God knows, the next logical step is: God cares. Everybody say: “God cares”. He doesn’t just know and leave it at that; He cares. The beautiful thing about God knowing is, He’ll do something about it because He cares. He cares. In fact, the very fact that He knows so much, is only, that itself, shows how much He cares. The very fact that He knows so much, shows how much He cares.
You know, I’ll give you an illustration. If you think of a CEO of a very big company or something; just say there are 10,000 employees. That CEO doesn’t know everything about his 10,000 employees. He can’t know. He can’t possibly know. But neither does he want to know. Which CEO wants to know about 10,000 employees? No, nobody. He would want to know about the people under him, directly or you know, a group under him, and so on. He doesn’t want to know everything about everybody. And he doesn’t care to know. But God knows, not just because He can know but He cares to know. He cares to know. In fact, that’s the point, Jesus is making with the sparrows there, you know. Jesus just gives a wonderful teaching with those sparrows. Go back to that, Matthew, chapter 10, verse 31; what mileage He can get out of sparrows, is amazing. People are worried, people are afraid. And He says, what do you do? Just look at the sparrows, just think about these sparrows. Let me read Matthew 10:29 to 31 again, that portion, but let me read it now fully. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. What is Jesus saying? He saying, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be worried, don’t be stressed, don’t let all the circumstances of life get to you”. Yeah, they’re there but don’t let them get to you and bring you down in your mind, mentally! Psychologically, don’t let them pull you down. Don’t give in to fear. Fear not! Why? Because the very hairs of your head are numbered. God knows you done your last detail, which means, He knows what you’re going through. If He knows when a single sparrow falls to the ground, then He knows what you’re going through. And then, what does He say; that final statement? “You are of more value than many sparrows”. What is He trying to say? He’s trying to say, this sparrow, in the eyes of the world, has no value. That’s why two are sold for one copper coin. But in the eyes of God, it has value. Even if one falls, God sees, God knows. If a sparrow has this much value in the eyes of God. He says, “You are of more value than many sparrows”. Amazing. Everybody say: “Many sparrows”. Everybody say: “I” or “We” – are of more value than many sparrows. He’s saying that if God would care so much, for one sparrow, how much more will He care for you because you are more valuable to Him, in His eyes, than many sparrows. It’s not what I’m saying; Jesus is saying. You are more valuable than many sparrows; you are of more value than many sparrows. To whom? To God. Whether the world agrees or not, to God, I am of more value that many sparrows. You are of more value than many sparrows because He created you as a human being. That itself, gives you an added value. Not only that, He redeemed you, He bought you, He purchased you with the blood of His Son; that give you value. He brough you into His family; you are His child and that confers upon you, value. You are a child of the living God; not a sparrow. “You are of more value than many sparrows”, Jesus is saying. Don’t be afraid; don’t give in to fear. Why not? Because if He cares so much, for one little sparrow, how much more is He going to care for you? Do not fear; you are important to him. He cares for you. That’s what Jesus is trying to say – God cares; God knows.
1 Peter 5:7 – you don’t have to go there; it’s a verse we know. But before that, you know, something happened, as I was preparing for this message that I’d like to share. I was in my room and preparing for this particular message and I was having a doubt, whether to share this or not because it seems so simple, so basic – God knows; God cares. I mean, is this really helpful for people, you know? Is this really going to make a difference? That’s the way I was thinking and I was preparing and my daughter – who’s now six – she was sitting at the table next to me, you know. She likes, she started to read, so
she likes to just sit and read, quietly. She likes to be in my room because it’s quiet. I’m reading; she’s reading. So, she just reads by herself. Suddenly, while I’m preparing – she doesn’t know what I’m doing, you know, and what’s in my mind. She just turns to me suddenly and just says, “Pa, do you know, this book says, “God made you very special”. I said, “Really?” She said, “Really”. And then, she said, “And I remember, in another cartoon I saw” – that one character she mentioned in her cartoon, she said. “He said, Jesus loves you very much. You know that?” she said. I said “Wow, that’s amazing”. It’s exactly what I was thinking about, meditating. The six-year-old girl turns to me says, “Do you know, God made you special. And Jesus loves you very much”. You know, I was thinking whether to preach this or not. When I heard her say that, it was like, wow. But not only that, she didn’t tell me anything, I didn’t know. I already know, God made me special. I already know, Jesus loves me very much. But when she told those words and when those words entered my ear from her mouth, it did something to me. It made me actually feel, at that moment, special. “Jesus loves you very much”. A six-year-old. I was amazed; I was just taken aback. I was trying to wrestle with, what do I preach, you know. What do I say? Suddenly I hear this: “God made you special; Jesus loves you very much”. I was wondering, usually, she doesn’t want to be disturbed and she won’t disturb me. We have an agreement like that. So, she usually doesn’t say. I said, “Why did you tell me that now?” She said, “I just felt like it”. And she went on reading.
That’s how I feel like, today. I just feel like telling you: God made you special; Jesus loves you very much.
But the thing is, God works in mysterious ways. Simple things, we already know. He knows, we need them today. He knows, we need a reminder. Maybe somebody needs a reminder today. God made you special. Not only that, God redeemed you. Jesus loves you very much. Jesus loves you very much. God cares for you. Don’t look at your circumstances to determine whether God cares for you. No. The Word says, “God cares for you”. The cross shows God’s love for you. Jesus loves you very much. Whoever needs to hear it, hear that, and let this go down into your spirit. Jesus loves you very much. Whether you can see it, whether you can see proof of it in your life, in your circumstances or not, doesn’t matter because it is the truth. God loves you very much. He cares for you very much. You are more value than many sparrows, fear not.
I said, go to 1 Peter 5:7; we have a verse that we all know, right. Peter says, “Because He cares for you, cast all your worries on Him”. Throw it away – cast is an old word, which means, you know, it’s not just ‘give it to Him’. You know, it’s a word with a force – throw it away, get rid of it, don’t keep it with you. Throw it away; don’t keep it with you. Why? Because He cares for you. Worry is going to come. You can be guaranteed that worry will come. Yeah. Somebody says, “I’ve never worried in my whole life”. Well, you should be living in heaven. I don’t think there’s any such person. Worry comes to all. What do you do with it? How you deal with it, is the issue. The Christian has to respond in a very violent way, to worry, very aggressively. When he comes, you should be in the business of throwing it. You should keep it as little time as possible, and throw it away, as quickly as possible, but throw it onto the Lord. Cast your anxieties, your worries, cast all your burdens on Him, on the Lord because He cares for you. Don’t just throw it on somebody else. We like to throw it on somebody else. Just pour our heart out before somebody, they’re not even able to bear their own burdens and we burden them some more and they are more burdened. Right. It’s good to share with others and bear one another’s burdens. The Bible says, “But that’s not enough. We need to cast our worries and anxieties onto the Lord because He can bear all of our burdens put together and deal with it, with no problem. Cast it onto Him because He cares for you. He cares for you”.
Psalm 40, verse 17; Psalm 40, verse 17: As for me, I’m poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought – that’s the idea of caring – ‘takes thought’ – He thinks about me. ‘I am poor and needy’ – I’m in a lowly condition but the Lord takes thought for me. The Lord thinks about me. Psalm 40 verse 17, that is. To help you visualize, this caring God, God caring for you. I want to give you three pictures – three biblical pictures – of God caring for you. One is the picture of a shepherd. Shepherd. In the Bible, God is portrayed as a shepherd. One of the main purposes for that is to portray his caring nature. This God, who created the heavens and the earth, who’s above all, who’s most powerful, all-powerful, who’s Holy, Holy, and Holy, Christ Holy. Yet, He’s described as a shepherd, with His sheep. Why? To show that He’s just not out there, somewhere beyond it all but He’s right here with us, caring for us. If you just visualize that shepherd and the sheep. You know, sheep are totally dependent on the shepherd, totally depends; they never outgrow that dependence. No matter how much they grow, how experienced they become, how smart they get, they will never become less dependent on the shepherd. In fact, the smart sheep know this. Only the dumb sheep think they’ve grown too much or experienced too much and they wander away, thinking they can make it on their own. But the smart sheep know, they need the shepherd and the smarter they get, they know, they need Him more. And the good shepherd – the shepherd – what does He do? The good shepherd takes care of his sheep. Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd”. I’m not just any shepherd; I am the Good Shepherd – John 10:11. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and He demonstrated how good He is, how caring He is, by giving His life for us. He showed His love and that He loves us. He gave Himself up for us, while we were yet sinners, enemies of God. I am the Good Shepherd. Everybody say: “Good Shepherd”. We have a Good Shepherd and He continues – after saving us – He continues to provide for us, lead us, guide us, comfort us.
You know, Psalm 23 – again, a passage you all know, but remind yourself. In times of adversity, just take back that Psalm 23 and open your mouth and just say, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want”. “He restores my soul”; sometimes, I’m down and out. That Psalm is not just filled with beautiful, calm pictures, like green pastures and still waters. It is also talking about restoring the soul; the soul gone wrong, the soul gone away. He restoreth my soul. It also talks about “the valley of the shadow of death” – the harshest moments in life. No matter what, it is, Yea, though I walk through that valley, I will fear no evil. Everybody say: “I will fear no evil”. Christian, don’t give in to fear. Believer, don’t give in to fear. You need this, and I need this; we all need this reminder. Do not give in to fear. ‘Fear no evil’. If you fear God, you don’t have to fear anything else. I mean, there is a good kind of fear also, right. I’m talking about this crippling fear; the spirit of fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear. He’s given us a spirit of power and love and sound mind. Don’t give in to that spirit of fear. I will fear no evil; for you are with me. You, Good Shepherd, are with me. Your rod and staff, they comfort me. You know, wonderful picture of a shepherd, caring for us.
Let me give you another picture because we don’t know this picture. We hardly see any shepherds and sheep, at least not in Chennai, where can you see the shepherd or the sheep here? We only see buildings and concrete. So, let’s go to another picture; a picture of a father. God cares for us, as a loving Father, as a caring Father. Psalm 103, verse 13, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. As a father shows compassion – sometimes, fathers in the world, people think fathers are very, very opposite of compassionate, merciful, sweet. They are very rough and tough or whatever, right, that kind of father. No, no, no. This Father, is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping His mercy, His loving kindness… that’s this Father. The Father is not necessarily like your father or somebody else’s father or any father you’ve seen here. In fact, Jesus, when talking about this Father said, “There is no one good, but this God”. There’s no one good; no one can be called ‘good’ in comparison with this Father. I’m talking about this Father, but the only fathers we know our human fathers, so we have to have some reference, but take your best human father, and then, multiply it times infinity. And picture the Heavenly Father, showing compassion to His children.
2nd Corinthians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was always a Father; Father of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies. Everybody say: “The Father of mercies”. ‘Father of mercies’ means that’s His very nature. The mercies come from Him; He’s the fount of every mercy, the Father of mercies. Every mercy, every manifestation of mercy, traces its roots back to this Father, this God. His Father is your father and He’s the Father of mercies, and He cares for you with those mercies. The Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Wonderful picture of a caring father.
But another picture, to help you. Shepherd, Father, Mother. Often, we don’t think of God like a mother, sometimes. Father is the more dominant picture in the Bible, certainly but there are verses where it talks about how God, you know, it compares God to the care of a mother, and love of a mother and so on. Look at Isaiah 49:15; Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?” It’s saying, can a mother forget the child she bore? Can a mother not show compassion, love to her children, to her baby? Is it possible for a mother to forget her baby and not show the love and compassion for the baby? Is it possible? We will all say, no. Maybe there are stories, exceptional stories, where a mother abandons her children but generally, the rule is, no. There is no love, like a mother’s love, people say, right. So soft and tender and kind. All that’s associated with the mother, isn’t it, usually? God is saying, “Can a mother forget? Can a mother not care? Can a mother abandon?” And then, He says, “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you”. Even if a mother forgets, I will not; even if a mother stops caring, I will not stop caring. I am better than a mother, caring. That’s what He’s saying. Like a mother, like a shepherd, like a father, like a mother. But the interesting thing is, in all these three pictures, if you notice, there’s a difference in the way the person who cares thinks, and the person who’s receiving the care thinks. The sheep can never understand fully, the care of the shepherd. The sheep, never fully appreciates the care of the shepherd. Sometimes, these wayward sheep, they go away. They say, these people who write about this, they say, the shepherd has to go, and the sheep is really afraid, and the shepherd cannot just very easily bring back the sheep. He has to, you know, sometimes forcefully, you know, kind of, really work hard to get it to cooperate and it fights and it resists and it thinks the shepherd is trying to do it harm. It can’t understand that the shepherd is caring.
Children, also are like that. They don’t understand and appreciate the care of the parents, do they? The little boy gets hurt in his leg; a little piece of glass goes in and he cries out for his father. His father comes and he sees the piece of glass and he says, “You’ve got to remove that piece of glass; we got to remove it and take it out”. And so, he presses the skin there, trying to remove the glass and the boy cries out even more. He says, “It’s paining already! I called you to reduce the pain; you’re increasing the pain! What kind of father are you?” He may no say that, but he’s thinking. But the father says, “No, no; even if it pains, boy we’ve got to get that glass out”. The little boy is sick. The father leaves the house. The boy is thinking where is he going; what love he has for me? But the father is going to the medical shop to buy some medicine. The boy never understands; the little child ever understands nor appreciates how much care his parents are showing him, how much love they have for him. Never, can never understand. Until one day, he becomes a parent, probably.
When we go through trials, problems, difficulties, hardships sometimes pain, suffering, we wonder where is God. What is He doing, you know? It’s getting worse. I call out to Him and it gets worse. I believe in Him and the problem becomes worse. We can’t understand His ways; we don’t understand His caring. We can’t! We are not God, we are not all-knowing, so don’t even try to understand it. But work hard; do your best; work against every natural instinct you have, to distrust your heavenly Father. Work against that, and trust your heavenly Father. Even if the pain is getting worse, even if the problem is getting worse. I say to you, trust your heavenly Father. You don’t know what He’s up to. You can’t understand it, but you will see it later. You will see that He’s working out things for your good. Trust Him; put your trust in Him; work, fight and put your trust in Him. It’s a fight, sometimes, to keep trusting God. We can’t understand all of God’s ways, how He cares for us, but He does care for us. But even when we can’t understand, we can just trust Him, we can just trust Him and say, “I don’t know what God you’re doing; I don’t know, I don’t understand any of it. I can’t make sense of any of it but I trust You. You’re my Father; You’ll do only good to me”. God cares for you. God will come through. He will do anything for you. That’s the way you’ve got to think.
He will do anything for you. If He’s given up His Son for you. That’s what Romans 8:32
says, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – that’s where you really see the peak of His love and care for you. He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. How will He not also graciously give us all things all things? How will He keep anything back from us, if it’s good for us? He’s given His Son for us; how will He hold back on anything else? You know, but the thing is, when we’re in trouble, when we’re right in the middle of difficulties, it really gets difficult seeing God’s care; it’s very difficult to understand how God cares for me, when I’m right in the middle of pain and suffering. I want to give you three ways in which God cares, when you’re in the middle of trouble and when you’re not getting out of it. When you don’t see the victim, when you don’t experience the victory, when you’re right in the middle of trouble, how does God care for you? Three ways, let me give you three ways.
Go to Isaiah 41:10. This one verse has all the three ways: Isaiah 41:10. There are many verses, but just this one verse, you can see all these three ways, right there. When you’re in trouble, and you’re not yet out of trouble; when you’ve not yet experienced the victory; when the problems are getting worse; when you’re right in the thick of it, how does God show His care for you? How does God manifest His care for you? Three ways. One is, He strengthens you. Everybody say: “He strengthens me”. Secondly, He sustains me. He sustains me. Thirdly, He’s with me. He strengthens me, sustains me, He’s with me. Isaiah 41, verse 10, you can see all of it right here: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “I will strengthen you”. In fact, in the Tamil Bible, it comes out like this, “I will help you, by strengthening you”. How will I help you? God, where are You helping me? I will help you, by strengthening you; I will strengthen you and, in this way, I will help you. Everybody say: “He’ll strengthen me”. So, when you’re right in the thick of it, you can expect God to strengthen you; pray for His strength. Where you are weak, confess that you are strong. Let the weak say, “I am strong, in the strength of the Lord”. “I will strengthen you” – that’s a promise. And God cares for you, by strengthening you. And “I will uphold you” – that is sustaining, upholding, bearing you up, so that you don’t fall down. Will I fall away, will I fall down, will I just give up? No. God is upholding you; God is sustaining you, and God will see you through. Your life is in the hands, not of this world, of this economy, of these circumstances; it is in the hands of God and God is upholding you. Underneath, are those everlasting arms.
Thirdly, what comes first, in the verse, and this is the most amazing thing: Fear not, for I am with you; I’m with you. This one thing, if you get this deep in your heart, He’s with me. Everybody say: “He’s with me”. How does He care for you? By simply being with you. You know, when you’re going through trouble, your best friend comes and says, “Don’t worry, I’m with you”. What if that is God? and He says, “Don’t worry, I’m with you”. That’s the greatest thing. That’s what you need today, my friend. How does He care for you? How does He want to show His care for you? By manifesting His presence. He wants you to know, that you know, that He is with you. “I am with you”. He is with me and He shows His care, by being with me and never leaving me, not forsaking me. The thing is we don’t, many times, feel His care, do we? We don’t feel His presence, even.
Sometimes, when we’re going through the problems, we feel like He’s not there. Where is He? Definitely, He’s not there, we think. But the Word does not lie. If it says He is with you; He is with you. If He says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. If He says, “I’ll be with you always, even until the end of the age”. That means, He will always be with you. There is no going back from that. He will never leave you. Believe the Word, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you have no ounce of feeling that God is with you. Just open your mouth and say, God is with me. Everybody say, “God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will always be with me”. When you don’t feel like it, just open your mouth and say this. It’s okay. Sometimes, it’s okay to say, what you don’t think or feel also. It’s not ideal but it’s better than saying the opposite – where are you God? You are not even with me. No. God is with me. I don’t feel His presence but God is with me. The Word cannot lie! God is with me and when you hold onto the Word, when you grasp that Word like that, my friend, the Holy Spirit does something, you know. It’s wonderful, just to hold onto the Word; that itself will do something.
But I’ll tell you something more wonderful: when you hold onto the Word – where it says, “He is with you”, and then the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of His presence in your heart. That’s it. When the Holy Spirit makes you feel His presence, that tops it all off. That’s when you know, that you know, that He is with me. The Holy Spirit is with you; He is in you. I pray that He will actually give you a sense of the presence of God. But oftentimes, the Holy Spirit works, when you grasp onto the Word. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The Weapon of the Spirit is the Word of God. Grasp onto the Word, and the Holy Spirit will reveal and manifest God’s presence. God, being with you, is enough. You can face anything.
What have we seen today, my friend? God knows and God cares. Everybody say, “God knows; God cares”. So, when you go out, you just say this: God knows; God cares. Or you can put it like this: God knows; God will take care. That’s how it’s said in Tamil: [Tamil] When you hear some bad news, inside your heart, you say this: “God knows; God will take care”. God knows; God will take care. Does He not know the bad news Himself? Did He not hear it? No, He knew. He knew it’s coming. You realize, God knows, God knows this is coming, God knows this will come. And God knows all about it and God will take care of it. That’s enough for me. Amen?
Let’s all stand up. Let’s thank God for this truth and let’s pray that it goes deep in our heart – not just something we know in our minds, but something we really sense down deep in our heart – something the Holy Spirit speaks into our heart. God knows what you’re going through. God cares deeply for you. That’s enough.
உபத்திரவங்களை அணுகுவதற்கான கிறிஸ்தவ வழி (பகுதி 6) – கர்த்தருக்கு தெரியும், கர்த்தர் பார்த்துக்கொள்வார்
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