By Scott G MacLeod
Often, when we are going through trials, we may not say this out loud, but the thought will flash across our minds, ‘does God care?’ The words of the disciples come before us when they were in the boat, convinced they were about to perish…
Mark 4:38 And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
Their attitude troubled the Lord more than the storm in all its fury! Why do we doubt His tender care, His watchful eye and His ready hand to bless? We would like to consider the following snapshots from the Gospels that reveal to us that Jesus really does care.
The Bedside and His Care
Consider for a few moments the following words of Luke 4:39 “And He stood over her…” We know the story well, Peter’s mother-in-law is very sick, completely bed ridden and at the point of death. Now, stand back and in your mind take a good look at this scene and enter the room. Notice, the stillness of the air, the figure on the bed, the sweat on her brow, the whiteness of her skin, but do not miss what only Luke the doctor records, “He stood over her”. Can you not capture the concern on His face, the careful scanning of His eyes as He accesses the situation. As you ponder this scene, think of the words of Psa. 147:
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
Try to imagine the might and the power needed for such a job…but did you ever notice the words of verse 3?
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Coupled with the great work of controlling the Universe is His great work of tending to your needs. May we let this sink down into our souls, our blessed Lord has everything under control and He is standing over us.
The Roadside and His Comfort
Let’s view another snapshot from the Gospels,
Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them.
It had been a rough couple of days, emotions that were once filled with hope are dashed, minds that were once filled with promises are exhausted and bodies that were once full of zeal are now sluggish. Do you ever find yourself on the road of life tried, discouraged or maybe contemplating leaving God’s assembly? Let’s join these long ago travelers on that dusty road to Emmaus and see if there are any encouragements. Can you not hear them talk of the ‘good old days’ when Christ was with them, the things He did and said? Now, He’s gone. The words of ver 21 seem to be paramount in their minds, “…we trusted” or “we were hoping”, seems as though now everything is uncertain. Notice the expression of ver 15 “Jesus Himself drew near”, if you were to look at the tenses used here we could render the expression this way, “Jesus Himself having drawn near was walking with them”. Sometimes problems in our lives can get so large in our minds that we forget that Christ is walking right beside us! He had been listening to their conversations, He is aware of every word and unexpressed thought, and let’s listen as He starts to encourage. How does He do this? He opens unto them the Scriptures and talks about Himself. Do you ever read a passage from God’s word and just let it roll over your soul? We live in a world that is so fast and encouragement that is easily found often leaves quickly. Take time to get alone with God in order to know Him better! One more little thought about the word “Himself”. When you have some time look up the following three verses and notice that you have Himself in reference to the Past-2Thess.2:16 – “…hath given us everlasting consolation…”
Present-2Thess.3:16 – “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always…”
And Future-1Thess.4:16 – “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven…”
The Tableside and His Closeness
We pass from the roadside to the ‘tableside ‘in Luke 24 for another thought.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
Mr. Newberry’s marginal note here is lovely. The expression “vanished out of their sight” is not the thought that he left the room, He only “became unseen by them”. This is one thing (among many) that we as Christians can be 100% assured of, that when we can not see His movements, He is so close, HE IS THERE!
The Hillside and His Compassion
One final thought and I must end. In Mark 9 and 10 we have a wonderful expression. In a gospel where the Son of God is pictured as a busy servant, a gospel that mentions 18 of His miracles (more than any other gospel) we read the following expression twice.
Mark 9:36 And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them,
Mark 10:16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.
The hillside is busy, people are milling about, sick folks are being brought to the Lord for a touch, there is hardly time to sit down. Can you hear to the one side the disciples talking to the children? “He doesn’t have time for you, go away, He’s too busy dealing with bigger issues, He has no time for little…” Do you ever think that our Blessed Lord is some how too busy and my concern is too small? Time to a servant is so precious in this gospel, however, the Servant of Jehovah has time to stop and wrap His arms around little children. May God help us to be compassionate even though our household list is long and our schedules are full. (For your own meditation, only Mark mentions the arms of the Lord.)
God help us to recognize His care for us, His readiness to comfort, the reality of His closeness and His unreserved compassion!