DOES GOD CARE FOR ME?
Lev. 13:1-2, 44-46; 1 Cor. 10:31:1 & Mk 1:40-45
The leper mentioned in today's Gospel must have asked himself the question "Does God care for me?" His leprosy meant that he was a social outcast with the prospect of dying a gradual and gruesome death. He had to leave his home, his loved ones, and his job. No longer could he attend the synagogue. He probably lived with other lepers. What had life to offer him now?
Then one day he met Jesus of whom he had obviously heard. The thought of meeting this kind, miracle worker must have filled him with excitement. The manner in which he approached Jesus was so simple and thoughtful. He did not demand what he desperately wanted. He believed Jesus, could cure his leprosy, but he wanted to know whether Jesus, was willing to cure him. He said to Jesus, "If You want to, You can cure me.” Shouldn't we all have that approach to Jesus when we need His help?
Some people would say to believe in a God who cares is not easy. Look at the world filled with poverty, war, disease, hurt, hatred and heartache of every conceivable kind. John Keats summed up these troubles as "the giant agony of the world" and Oscar Wilde once said, "There is enough misery on any one street in London to disprove the theory of a loving benevolent Deity.” Were these the feelings of the leper as he languished in his own private hell? Would God really care about him? Knowing all this, we ask how is it that this all powerful Creator and Sustainer of the Universe allow these things to happen.
Jesus looked at the leper with compassion and healed him although, of course, not all of life's tragedies have this same kind of happy ending. It is easy to believe that Jesus cared about this leper because He healed him. But what about those others lepers who lived in Palestine at the same time and who were never healed? What are we to conclude about God's care for them? Yes, He does care!
To argue that the presence of evil and suffering is sure proof that there is no God, or at the very least that God does not care, is not necessary valid. We are only too aware of the unhappiness and disasters around us, the tragedies that crush the lives of people for no good reason. But supposing we lived in a perfect world where the streets were paved with gold and money grew on trees and there was no sickness and tragedy we would be day-dreaming for we know that such a type of world would never exist!
What about those people who have had really hard times, who have struggled to cope, but at the end of it all have said, "Those days may have been difficult, but they were the grandest days of my life.” We know that everything that is most worthwhile in our Iives has come out of a background of struggle against obstacles. We moan under the frustrations and injustices of living and yet deep down we know that life on a silver platter with easy solutions to all our problems would really not be life at all.
To believe that God is all-powerful does not necessarily mean that He will manipulate things or people as He pleases. He cannot do with us what He wants if we stubbornly and foolishly resist Him. He has too much respect for the free will He has given us. It is our sins and the world's greed for power and wealth that ties the hands of God. We often forget these factors when we claim that God does not care. To me the fact that He sent His Son to become a man like us and share our sorrows and joys, to suffer and die to save us from Hell and lead us to Heaven, should be enough proof that He is a God who cares.
God is our Father and like any loving Father He hurts when He sees His children suffering. We can ask, "Then why doesn't He fix the things that break His heart?” Let us never forget that God is involved in ‘the giant agony of this world.’ Our Christian faith cannot remove the problem of the Devil, and the evil he spreads, but it can supply the strength to cope with them. Jesus did say. "Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world." This means that the world and all the evil in it may try to destroy us, but with Jesus on our side it can never break us. Surely this should convince us that we have a God who does care for His children?
Heavenly Father, despite all the evil and suffering we see in this world, may we never deny Your great care for each one of us. The fact that You gave us Your Son to be a man like us and Who died for us is surely proof enough that You really do care.