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Those of us who have lost a loved one to disease or have loved ones who are fighting an illness, or who dread its possible return, may sometimes feel as though we're about to be overwhelmed with fear or that God has abandoned us or doesn't care about our battles. I am glad to remind you today, that is not the case. He does care. God's love for us is not wishful thinking. It is not a mirage in the desert of life on earth. He really does love us.
Or perhaps we feel that God just doesn't understand what's it like to lose a loved one. Author Leslie Montgomery writes, "Who better than our Father in heaven knows the anguish of losing a loved one, for his own Son died at Calvary." Yes, God does know. He understands.
The Book of Psalms, chapter 34, verse 18, tells us, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." As you or a loved one face disease, perhaps as you mourn one whose life ended because of a terrible illness, are you brokenhearted, overcome with fear or despair?
God understands, God cares, God is near at hand to comfort and help. To those who love him, God says, "Fear not, for I am with you... I will strengthen you, I will help you" (Isaiah 41:10). You see, God is not an absentee father--he is a present help and refuge. We cannot see him, we cannot physically hear his voice, we cannot literally feel his touch, but he is here with us in our times of crisis.
One of the best things about participating in events to support victims of disease is that rather than each of us making a contribution to the battle against dreaded illnesses alone, one by one, we are making a contribution together. As we walk together and talk together and network and connect, we become a team of people united in a great cause. As good as that is, there is something even better than that--God wants to connect with us, to encourage us in our difficulties and give comfort to our souls (Psalm 62:1-2). God does care about us, he has not abandoned us, he is a compassionate Heavenly Father. We do not have to face our trials and fears alone.
And God's Son, Jesus Christ, speaks to us gently through the Bible and offers to show us his love by sharing our burdens: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).
The ultimate proof of God's love was sending Jesus to die on the cross for us, taking the punishment our sins deserve, then rising from the grave three days later. As 1 John 4:9 tells us, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world to die in place of sinners], so that we might live through him." And John 3:36 says "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life." How wonderful it is to know that all who trust him fully find eternal life through him: "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).
Then those who place their trust for forgiveness and eternal life completely on Jesus Christ, who died for them and rose again, can say with the words of Psalm 23...
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If you don't have the assurance of God's provision for your deepest needs, I invite you to place your absolute trust in Jesus Christ today. The Bible says that those who believe in him "become children of God" (John 1:12). And as a child of God, you're invited to cast "all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
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