How Much Does God Care?
September 7, 2010
by Peter Amsterdam
How Much Does God Care?
Audio length: 8:30
Download Audio (7.4MB)
(You may need to right-click the above links and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" to download videos and audios to your computer.)
Recently, within the span of a week, I heard three different people say three different but connected things which got me thinking about God’s interaction and participation in my life.
Person one said that he didn’t know if God actually cares about what we do in our lives, and that He may not be interested in the choices we make beyond accepting salvation. That person felt that perhaps most of our choices don’t matter to Him—especially if they aren’t significant choices.
Person two said that he had listened to a podcast in which the speaker presented a position that God only intervenes in our lives after we have reached the limits of our means of finding His will—that He expects us to exhaust all available means and do everything we are able to do before He will intervene.
Person three brought up the point of view that when God made the world, He was like a clockmaker who assembled and wound up the clock and then walked away, letting it run completely on its own. God did the initial work of creation, and He created the laws of nature, but from that point on, He has let things run themselves without further involvement or intervention.
In the days that followed, I reflected on these comments. These outlooks disturbed me. Something inside me rebelled against the thought that God didn’t care or want to be involved in my life, or that to get His attention I had to work so hard at it that it barely seemed worth the trouble.
If any of these three concepts are true, then what beyond salvation would I need God for? What good is He? In times of tumult, when I need help and direction, I need the confidence that I can get His guidance and not be wondering if He cares or will get involved.—Or how bad things have to become before He will do so.
When I mulled over these three points of view, I was reminded of three different proofs that stood in direct contradiction to them.
(1) Personal experience
God has intervened in my life on several occasions in ways which made it clear to me that He was interested in the decisions I made.
There was one time, years ago, when I had a dream which gave me the answer before I even knew the question. The dream preceded my being offered two different jobs within the few days that followed. The dream made it very clear which offer to take, and doing so put me on the direct path that led me to my major work for the Lord—being one of the directors of TFI for 15 years now. I hadn’t done anything to get that answer, let alone exhausted all the means at my disposal. Of course, most answers don’t come that easily, and generally one has to put some work into finding them.
There have been numerous times when I have sought the Lord’s guidance and have received direction from Him. I’ve sought for solutions in prayer and found them. I’ve asked Him to give me answers and He has—through prophecy, in meditation, by speaking to my heart, by reading His Word, and through circumstances. He’s given me clear counsel and direction which, when followed, has worked. I know from personal experience that God cares, that He is interested in me and will participate in my life when I am open to Him.
(2) God’s Word
Over and over again in both Old and New Testaments, there are examples of God’s interaction with man—His intervention in events, His giving guidance and counsel, direction or warning.
While there are plenty of examples of God’s involvement in the decision-making of His followers, here is a good one from the book of Acts:
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6–10 NIV).
God clearly had a preference as to where they should and shouldn’t go, and He made His directions known to them.
The Bible explicitly states that we should look to God for guidance in our decision-making, and that if we do, He will give us direction:
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV).
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye (Psalm 32:8 NKJV).
In the Psalms, David clearly showed that he believed in God’s guidance when he prayed:
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee (Psalm 143:8 KJV).
Jesus said that if you have needs, you should:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7–8 KJV).
Jesus believed His Father would guide Him in decisions, as evidenced when He selected the apostles from among His disciples:
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles (Luke 6:12–13 NASB).
It’s evident from Scripture that God wants to and will interact with us if we want Him to.
(3) The Holy Spirit
Along with personal experience and examples found within the Word, I thought about how Jesus promised that once He physically left the earth, the Father would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers. He said that the Holy Spirit would live in us.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you (John 14:16–17, 20 NIV).
If God was going to send His Spirit to dwell within me forever, then it stands to reason that He is interested in me as an individual, and in what I do and the decisions I make. I would make the case that He’s actually quite interested.—And not just interested but involved.
One of the definitions of “interested” in the dictionary is “having the attention engaged.” One of the definitions of “engaged” is “involved in activity: occupied, busy.” So another way to say “He is interested” would be that “He is paying attention, and is occupied with and involved in your life.”
I see plenty of evidence that God wants to be part of my life, to play an active role, even an interactive role. He and I are working together. His Spirit—dwelling within me, guiding my decision-making—helps me in my journey through life.
In a number of Bible translations the word “Counselor,” used to describe the Holy Spirit, is rendered as Helper. I like that image—God’s Spirit being my Helper. I love it that God is an active part of my life, that He is interested in me, in who I am and what I do.
I’m so grateful that He didn’t just wind me up and walk away, but that instead He gave me the means to interact with Him through His Word and His Spirit. I love it that His Spirit dwells within me.