Our past experiences often influence whether or not we believe something to be true. Unanswered prayers, or rather undesirable outcomes that follow our prayers, sometimes lead us to question God’s reliability.
In all those moments when God did not enact what you prayed for, have you ever thought that maybe God was protecting or saving you from something? A blog I read recently says this: We don’t often look for proof that God cares about us in what we DIDN’T experience. We have no idea how many near-misses and close-calls God saved us from!” (Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen)
Earlier this year, my parents had planned a trip. They were so looking forward to it, but safety restrictions forced them to cancel. They were disappointed and sad. Little did they know, my father would need to undergo unscheduled coronary bypass surgery the same week they were scheduled to leave. God prevented what could have been much worse.
Two months later, my father’s best friend had his own coronary bypass surgery scheduled. He was nervous, but my father comforted him and told him what to expect. He died just one day before he was scheduled to have the very surgery that could have saved him.
We’ll never know why God gave my father a second chance and didn’t do the same for his best friend. We experienced both immense gratitude and grief, and yet an overwhelming sense of God’s care for us.
Today’s text reminds us that God’s care for us is very real. He prepared the way for salvation to come through Jesus Christ. As we look throughout the Old Testament, God has always gone before his people, preparing the way to the promised land. Then, in the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is the way to that same promised land.
God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Despite their rebellion and idolatry, God sent an angel ahead of them. He sent Jesus to die for you and me even before we could speak. This free, unmerited gift of salvation is the ultimate example of God’s care for you and me.
So next time you begin to wonder if God really cares for you, remember the cross. Remember what your life was like before Christ and thank him for saving you. If you struggle to understand God’s care for your life, one of our online mentors would be happy to listen to you and journey with you. It’s free, confidential, and it helps.
Father, help me to trust you today. Empower me to live in the shadow of the cross and to remember your faithfulness in every circumstance. With this new year ahead, strengthen my faith in you so I can face each day with assurance of who you are. You know all the moments I am looking forward to and the worries ahead - I surrender them to you now, Lord. I want to live this year for your glory and by your Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Christ Our Hope in Life and Death by Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Papa
Photo Credit: Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash