“God will take care of you!”
What the heck does that mean?
Seriously, what does it mean?
I know what I mean when I say “take care of”. Also, I know that my idea of “take care of” and, say, my mom’s idea of “take care of” are totally different, and my brothers–haha! Yeah. Definitely a different idea of “take care of”.
You don’t really stop to think about what “take care of” means, until you feel like you need someone to take care of you. And then all of a sudden, it becomes really, really important.
God will take care of me. Yeah, okay; now tell me how God views “take care of.” What, exactly, am I supposed to be trusting Him to do?
Pretty quickly, I get myself into an endless loop. God’s definition of “take care of” is obviously the ultimate definition, so He will definitely fulfill His promise to “take care of”.
And, yeah, this is like humanity’s longest standing dilemma. If God takes care of His people, than why does He let bad things happen to His people? The given answer is that His ways are higher than our ways (going back to the ultimate definition thing again). And I can kind of see that. Who doesn’t know of a little kid who is convinced we’re being cruel and horrible when we’re doing something for them that really is in their ultimate good? Like potty training. Seriously, I have seen kids crying over that, but it totally definitely really needs to be done.
But here’s the thing. I am in a physical body, with physical needs and physical perceptions. I perceive needs. (I say ‘perceive’ because again–yeah, I’ve been that kid and am that kid and will always be that kid.) Yet–if they are my perceptions, not necessarily reality, then I cannot always trust God to meet my perceived needs. What, then, can I trust God to take care of? My real needs! And what are my real needs? Well. . .I guess I find out when they get met, and anything that doesn’t get met must not have been a real need.
So when I, in this physical body with physical needs and physical perceptions, feel in need of being taken care of, what is my assurance? My suffering is all in my imagination? My God will always be right, so shut up and sit down and be grateful? He will definitely, totally be doing things that I can’t see or feel or be comforted by?
It doesn’t sound so very much like comfort or assurance, does it? Me, neither.
These are some things I do know: we’re called to seek and to ask and to test and to find. I’m totally supposed to be asking these questions. God does love me and nothing can separate me from that, not even varying definitions of care. I do believe that my Mom loves me and that my brothers love me, even though they have totally different ideas of what “care for” looks like.
And one other thing, too.
That God never separated “caring” and “suffering”.
To me, it seems like a no-brainer. If you care about something or someone, you don’t let it suffer and suffer. But right at the very core of everything, God loved His very own son more than anything else, and let Him suffer more than anything else.
That doesn’t make any sense to me at all. What worth is it to trust in being “cared for” and “provided for” when it seems those terms mean exactly diddly-squat?
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
As one of my brothers would say, what the fickle? This person is content, not because all needs have been met–he feels the hurt, feels the need, feels the want, feels the lack and the empty places–and has learned to be content in it all anyway.
So if being loved and being cared for has completely zero to do with being spared the dark and the hungry and the want and the hurt. . .
. . .than what is our trust and hope and assurance and comfort?
Some say, we don’t have it here. It’s only in the life after. Here, we’re just screwed.
I don’t believe that. He learned to be content, not grit his teeth and bear it. Gritting through it is the easy way out; being content and rejoicing through it is the hard thing, the beautiful thing, the true thing.
I am hitting a spot of raw need, unlike anything I have ever had to personally bump across before. When I’m in my car, I am finally alone enough that I can talk to God, and by talk, I don’t mean tea-and-crumpets. I mean, “what the frig are you doing?!” I let it all out on the 10 minutes down to my grandparents, and I let it all out on the way back.
The only response I heard was the refrain: trust Me.
Trust You to do WHAT?!
It’s like signing a contract without being allowed to read it. I guess that pretty much does describe “living by faith” and I’ve heard it said that faith grows by being tested and tried.
I am not sure that I could say that I have peace or contentment. I am agitated and fidgety. I wasn’t promised that the things that I feel and perceive as needs would be attended to, and I admit I continue to turn those holes over in my mind.
Is resignation faithful? There is a part of me that says, “Fine, okay, whatever. Trust You. Those are my marching orders; I go.” Is it maybe like the disobedient son who told his father, “Heck, no!” but then thought better of it and went anyway? Still not the right response, but better than staying put?
But it really grates on my human understanding of fairness. If I am doing what You want me to be doing, why aren’t You providing for what I need to do that? You brought down the walls of Jericho; yet for me, You’ll pelt me with pea-sized hail, just to see what my reaction is? It’s not fair.
Forgiveness of sins isn’t fair, either; you don’t want God to be fair. I know, I know, I know.
But don’t you see, my original question still hasn’t been answered: If I can’t trust God to meet my perceived needs, and I continue to feel and experience those needs–what the heck am I supposed to do? The desire is to go attend to them myself, since God can’t be bothered to address them–but I haven’t the resources. That’s rather the definition of ‘need’, you know. Pretend I haven’t got a care in the world, when–HELLO!!!–really I do? Flagellate myself that I’m unworthy to have my requests heard? That’s a tempting one, let me tell you, but no life in it.
Keep praying, because to be found not praying is a shame? Yes. Ask, seek, knock? Yes. Trust?