I started the Made to Crave Bible Study this week. We have a good group of women gathered, and I am excited to see what God will do among us in the next six weeks. One woman said something in class I’ve been thinking about since. We were discussing our food issues and our need to go to God in prayer about them. The woman commented she has trouble doing this because she feels these things are “so small”, and that God has bigger, “more important” concerns than hers. In her own estimation, her troubles are minor and insignificant. She has trouble believing that “God cares about this”. I pointed out what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about how His Father cares for birds and lilies of the field, and then asks, “Are you not more valuable than these?” The women looked unconvinced. We left it there in class, but I carried her question home with me.
I think a lot of people feel this way. Does God really care about my small issue? I don’t want to “bother” Him with such trivial concerns. He has way more pressing matters than helping me __________ (you fill in the blank). It’s not that big of a leap from this thinking to the real question behind it: “Does God really care for me? Do I matter to God?”
I think we all struggle to a certain extent with bringing all of ourselves before God. We have places and things in our lives that we feel we “should” be able to handle ourselves. And that by doing this, we are being noble or responsible or somehow pleasing God through our own competence. But God is not impressed with our abilities or efforts apart from Him. The essence of faith is to “believe on Him” – to rely upon Him in ALL things, not only the things we deem important enough.
We should pay more attention to the areas where we are experiencing repeated failures. God allows them so we will recognize our need of Him. He wants us to bring our failures, weaknesses, and all our feeble attempts at fixing them ourselves. In my own experience, desperation was the first step to finding out just how much God really does care for me, down to the small print.
I’ve heard it said, this attitude is really pride. The Bible does say pride is the sneakiest of all sins. It is difficult to detect accurately because it masquerades as so many “good” qualities, as defined in the world we live in. We are taught to “take pride in our work” in elementary school. And what person does not covet hearing the words, “I am proud of you”. Our whole lives are built around ways we can maneuver to bring this type of recognition.
Maybe it is pride, or maybe it is fear. What if I go to God and this only confirms my deepest fear – that I don’t matter all that much to Him? We might come to this conclusion if God does not answer our prayers the way we think He “should” have. This goes straight to the heart of the surrender involved when we bring ourselves before Him. We must let go of everything; all our conceptions about the problem and the solution. We can’t do this if we doubt God’s goodness and love for us. I must first know He loves me, or the risk is too great. But “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
God said only children will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is because children depend on and trust Him. He wasn’t saying literal children, but childlike in faith. “To all who believe, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). If you have received Jesus by faith, then you are His child. You have been given the right to come to Him as Your Father. There has always been confusion about who can come and what to bring. We see this all over the Gospels. The disciples scolded and dismissed the children as they came to see Jesus. As the children tried to draw near, they were shoved aside…until Jesus intervened. The text says “He was indignant”, which is defined as “righteous anger”. Jesus was ticked! His disciples were behaving in a way diametrically opposed to His teaching. He rebuked them, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
It’s time we take this thinking off auto-pilot and reevaluate it. Does God really care about little old me and my small potatoes? Does He care if I eat potatoes? Doesn’t He have bigger fish to fry? Doesn’t He expect me to figure this out on my own? Let’s call a spade a spade, and see this kind of thinking for what it is – utterly opposed to what Jesus taught; a deeply entrenched hindrance to God. This thinking erects barriers between Him and us, creating spaces we carve out where we attempt to solve our own problems. This is not only ineffectual, but foolish because we have a loving Father who cares for us with the greatest attention in the areas we deem as “small” and “insignificant”. These thoughts do not come from God, who from the beginning has made His intentions clear for His children. God created Adam and Eve, and put them in the garden, where He had provided for their every need. They walked with Him in every detail of their lives. Remember, it was the serpent who introduced the question, “Did God really say?” which provoked the doubt in Eve’s mind that led to her sin. And for the Made to Crave ladies in class: Guess what that first discussion was about?? Food! Satan tempted Eve to eat what God had expressly forbidden. We see right from the start that God cares about what we eat.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8). It’s time to test our theories about God. Try Him and see. That small food issue that has overwhelmed you and made you feel like a failure, bring it to Him. That little thing you aren’t sure even matters in the grand scheme of things, offer it up. He wants you to acknowledge Him right there in that very place. If God allowed the thought to enter your life, then He has purpose in it. It brings glory to the Father when His children trust Him with their every need. Forget the labels of “small” altogether. Stop qualifying and ranking your needs. Just put yourself out there before Him – all of you. Even the places you are ashamed of because you have failed miserably. Especially those places. Nothing in your life is beyond His Sovereign care. There is nothing He expects you to address on your own. Throw off that ancient serpent’s lie, every sin that entangles, and run straight into the arms of your Everlasting Father. You just might be surprised to find out how much Your Father really does care for you, and your potatoes. Then you might actually hear the words, “I am proud of you”, and for the first time, be able to take them to heart – an eternal treasure stored up in heaven for you.
“Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you” – 1Peter 5:7