Who Cares?

Table of Contents

1. Who Cares?
2. We’re Not Alone
3. Jesus Cared
4. Jesus Still Cares
5. Our Brethren Care
6. Do Our Brethren Really Care?
7. Our Enemies Care
8. Still No One Cares?

Who Cares?

Many of us have enjoyed singing the song entitled “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” Addressed to the Lord Jesus, it expresses the peace that we can enjoy in walking closely with Him in the midst of our weakness and the burdens of the path through this world. It is a prayer that the Lord would grant a deeper sense of nearness to and communion with Himself.
The last time I sang this song with a group, one question in the second stanza stood out in my mind and made me ponder it ever since. It asks, “If I falter, Lord, who cares?” What particularly struck my soul was the fact that the song had been requested by a young person in the middle of his teenage years. I asked myself, Could it be that this young man’s heart — and many others like his — is crying out with this question? Is the pace of life so fast and hectic that it feels like no one notices — and, worse yet, no one cares — when I am struggling? It is with these questions in mind that I share these thoughts, with the prayer that they will be an encouragement and help to anyone whose heart echoes these words, “Lord, who cares?”

We’re Not Alone

Before we look for answers to this question, let’s remind ourselves that men and women in past ages have had similar feelings too. The Word of God records many whose life and service for Him were not appreciated by those close to them. Joseph’s brethren, motivated by jealousy and hatred, sent him far away from those he loved and cared for, where he was then falsely accused by his employer’s wife and sent to prison. When David was hated by King Saul and chased for his life, he wrote, “Refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psa. 142:4). Job suffered tremendous losses so that his wife encouraged him to “curse God, and die” (ch. 2:9); his three so-called friends did more to accuse than to console in their discourses, and Job might well have felt that no one cared for him in his very great grief and anguish.
The Disciples
With others, their feelings of despair and hopelessness came when their faith in the Lord Jesus grew weak. When the disciples were in a boat with Jesus and a violent storm arose while He slept, they awakened Him and asked, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). Of course, such an accusation was thoughtless and lacked regard for the Person who was with them, but the apparent danger and urgency of their predicament made them react with the suggestion that Jesus must not care.
Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, had a similar feeling. She received Jesus into her house, but as she served Him, she grew distracted by the fact that her sister Mary was listening to Jesus’ word at His feet rather than helping her. She complained to Him, “Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:40). Did she wish that she could sit at Jesus’ feet? or did she want Mary to get up and help her with the domestic work? Perhaps both thoughts motivated her to question whether the Lord Jesus really cared about her present situation.
Elijah was “a man of like passions to us” (  James 5:17 JND). He stood for God on mount Carmel against hundreds of false prophets and demonstrated the power and holiness of the true God (1 Kings 18). As a result, the wicked queen Jezebel threatened his life, and he then requests to the Lord that he might die. Twice he says to the Lord, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10,14). In other words, no one else cares.
This is the only failure of an Old Testament saint that is recorded in the New Testament (Rom. 11:24). It marked the end of Elijah’s public usefulness to God: He told Elijah to anoint Elisha to be His prophet instead of Elijah. How it stirs our souls to want to cut off such feelings of self-pity and despair before they take hold of our hearts and to seek the divine answer whenever the thought creeps into our minds, “Who cares?”

Jesus Cared

In our heads we say, “Of course we know that Jesus cares.” But sometimes our feelings allow us to question what we might otherwise readily assent to with our minds. Let’s refresh our memories with some of the verses from the Word of God that prove beyond any shadow of doubt how deeply Jesus really does care for us.
In eternity, when He was enjoying the unhindered sunshine and bliss of fellowship with the Father, He also could say, “My delights were with the sons of men” (Prov. 8:31).
Then He came to earth to carry out, in time, the plan purposed by the Godhead in eternity. He became poor that we might be eternally rich. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
He was despised and rejected that we might be accepted. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isa. 53:3). “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
He was forsaken by God that we might never be. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Psa. 22:1). “He hath said, I will never  .  .  .  forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).
He was completely alone that we might never be. “I  . . .  am as a sparrow alone” (Psa. 102:7). “He hath said, I will never leave thee” (Heb. 13:5).
He bore the just penalty of God for our sins that we might never feel the judgment of God ourselves. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5; also Psa. 42:7; 1 Peter 2:24). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that he that hears My word, and believes Him that has sent Me, has life eternal, and does not come into judgment, but is passed out of death into life” (  John 5:24 JND).
He died that we might receive eternal life. “Jesus, who was made some little inferior to angels on account of the suffering of death  .  .  .  so that by the grace of God He should taste death for every thing” (Heb. 2:9 JND). “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
We could go on and on enumerating the myriad ways that our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us. The cross stands as the ultimate monument in time to His infinite love and care for our eternal good and happiness. As someone has said, “He could not give more; He would not give less.”

Jesus Still Cares

What about the present? While He completed the work of atonement on Calvary to God’s glory once and for all, so that He said absolutely, “It is finished” (  John 19:30), He continues to work on our behalf now that He has ascended to the Father’s right hand. That work takes on two forms: He is our great high priest so that we might not sin (Heb. 4:14), and He is our advocate if we do sin (1 John 2:1).
He helps us when we are being tempted. “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor [or, help] them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).
He sympathizes with our infirmities. “We have not a high priest not able to sympathize with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner, sin apart” (Heb. 4:15 JND).
He intercedes for us. “Who shall bring an accusation against God’s elect? It is God who justifies: who is he that condemns? It is Christ who has died, but rather has been also raised up; who is also at the right hand of God; who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:33-34 JND). In fact, this portion of Romans 8 shows us that the whole Godhead is for us: the Spirit (vs. 27), God (vs. 31) and Christ (vs. 34).
When Peter was soon to face strong temptation, the Lord said to him, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32). This does not remove our responsibility to walk closely to the Lord in dependence on Him, as He said to the disciples in Gethsemane, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). But what a comfort it gives to our hearts to know that our best Friend intercedes incessantly for us!
We know that Peter did fail and denied his Lord. Was it all over with His care for His self-confident servant? No, thank God! That same care proved itself to Peter in other, marvelous ways to work true repentance and restoration in his soul. “The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord” (Luke 22:61). That look brought Peter’s soul back into the presence of the Lord so that he could see the true character of his failure. Undoubtedly the work of God continued in Peter’s heart over the next few days, plowing deeper and deeper to the root of the sin that caused the outward fall. Then, after the Lord had died and was risen again, we read, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). In that private meeting, Peter must have made full confession of his sin to the Lord and was restored to happy communion with Him once again. Later on, the Lord declared that completed restoration to the other disciples by publicly giving Peter a broad, far-reaching work to do for Him (  John 21:15-17).
Is it any wonder, then, that this same Peter encourages us to cast all our care on Him, “for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7)? So fully has He demonstrated the solidity, the purity and the infinity of His love and His care for us that all that remains for us is to believe, to trust, to adore and to worship. “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy [or, loving-kindness] endureth forever” (Psa. 136:1).

Our Brethren Care

The Lord Jesus isn’t the only one who cares. Our brethren do too. Christians are not isolated individuals; they’re children in the family of God, and what a large family that is. “See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1 JND). “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).
They are also members in the body of Christ. “God has set the members, each one of them in the body, according as it has pleased Him” (1 Cor. 12:18 JND). “The members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25).
The Apostle Paul
The Apostle Paul was one member in the body who set a good example of showing affection and care for his brethren in Christ. He said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). From his writings, we see how well he learned to care for the saints from following the heart of his Master. After cataloging the variety of physical and emotional sufferings that he had endured for the cause of Christ and His church, he then says, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (2 Cor. 11:28-29). To the Corinthians personally he says, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor. 12:15). And he wasn’t partial either; he showed the same care and affection for the saints in other assemblies also: “We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thess. 2:7-8).
To the saints at Philippi, the Apostle repeated the exhortation to follow him. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Phil. 3:17). His own son in the faith, Timothy, certainly proved to have a kindred spirit. Paul commended him to the Philippians by saying, “I have no one like-minded who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on” (Phil. 2:20 JND). There must have been that quality in Timothy’s manner of interacting with his brethren, at home and among those he visited in his travels with the Apostle, that showed genuine interest and concern for the saints — not only for their temporal needs and wants, but also for their spiritual progress in the things of God.
Overseers in the Assembly
The end of Hebrews says, “Obey your leaders, and be submissive; for they watch over your souls as those that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not groaning, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17 JND). God has put those in the assembly with the responsibility of oversight to look out for the spiritual well-being of those in the assembly. Earlier in that chapter we read, “Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God; and considering the issue [or, end] of their conversation, imitate their faith” (vs. 7 JND). The foundation of their lives is the Word of God, with their eyes firmly fixed on “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (vs. 8), and they live by faith, in dependence on Him.
Not all of us have been given the responsibility of oversight in the assembly, but we can each be a Timothy. There is room for every one of us to “care with genuine feeling” how someone else is getting along. At the same time, we’ll discover that there are those of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are caring for our souls too.

Do Our Brethren Really Care?

Now there are times when we ask ourselves, Do our brethren really care? Perhaps we have some interest or desire to do something for the Lord, and we feel like all we get from our brethren is discouragement rather than encouragement, criticism instead of support. Let’s turn to the Scriptures for some lessons and guidance to help us through situations like these.
Jesus and His Earthly Parents
The Word of God records one incident in the life of the Lord Jesus when He was twelve years old, and it relates exactly to our subject. Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. When it was time to return home, they traveled for a day before they realized that “the child Jesus” (Luke 2:43) was not with them; they supposed “Him to have been in the company” (vs. 44) but didn’t bother to check for sure. They returned to Jerusalem to search for Him and found Him after three days. His mother reprimanded Him: “Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing” (vs. 48).
The way the Lord Jesus responded to this situation is very instructive. First, He answered them — those who were responsible for Him as His parents—respectfully according to the true desires of His heart. “Why is it that ye have sought Me? did ye not know that I ought to be occupied in My Father’s business?” (vs. 49 JND). While they did not know what He meant (vs. 50), the burden on His heart He shared in fellowship with His Father.
Second, He lived in proper obedience and submission to His earthly relationships at that time in His life. “He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them” (vs. 51). Our “Father’s business” will never take us outside of or cause us to violate the relationships and responsibilities in which God has placed us. Men in relation to their employers and their brethren in the assembly, women in connection with their husbands, young people in relation to their parents and others in the assembly—each one of us can fulfill the burdens on our hearts and carry out our present work for the Lord — our “Father’s business”—in the context of those relationships without having to be insubmissive to them.
The Lord Jesus, when they found Him in the temple, was not teaching the doctors; He was “both hearing them, and asking them questions” (vs. 46). Such was the fitting demeanor for a boy of His age. Evidently they must have also asked Him some questions, perhaps when they were unable to answer His questions, “and all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (vs. 47). When we keep within the sphere in which the Lord has placed us, the burdens and the gifts that He has given us will be manifest to those around us.
Third, “His mother kept all these sayings in her heart” (vs. 51). The testimony of Jesus’ lips did not go unnoticed by His mother Mary. Though the incident itself was an annoyance to her at the time—having to take all that extra time to make the return journey to their home — yet in her heart she recognized that Jesus’ answer was deliberate and contained meaningful significance. His words and His actions were recorded in her heart for future use and blessing.
Fourth, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (vs. 52). The results in Jesus’ personal life are beautiful. They are personal, both inward (“wisdom”) and outward (“stature,” or age or size); they are also towards others (“favor with God and man”). The favor is with God first and man second: God should have the first place in everything (Col. 1:18). In every way, the example of the Lord Jesus as a boy of twelve teaches us valuable lessons as to how we should behave when we face similar situations in our lives.
Joseph With His Family
We find the same pattern in the life of Joseph. As a teenager, God gave him two dreams that foretold the future, not only for him and his family, but also prophesying about the Lord Jesus and His relationships with the church and the nation of Israel. Yet, when Joseph shared his dreams with his father and his brothers, they were totally unable to appreciate their significance. In fact, they prompted envy and hatred from his brothers (Gen. 37:5,8,11) and rebuke from his father (vs. 10).
How did Joseph act in the face of such pressure? He was subject to his father, and he continued to seek the welfare of his brothers (vss. 13-17). He paid dearly for such faithfulness — we well know the painful heartaches and trials that befell the path of this dear young man. But he counted it of utmost importance to honor God and obey Him in everything, and in the end he was amply rewarded. Nowhere in the entire Old Testament can we find a more beautiful type of our Lord Jesus Christ than in the life of Joseph.
Notice what it says about Jacob in connection with Joseph’s dreams: “His father observed the saying” (vs. 11). Isn’t this similar to what we read about Mary — “His mother kept all these sayings in her heart”? When we live in obedience and faithfulness to God and His Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us, demonstrating the joy and peace that fill our soul and our spirit, all those around us —our parents, our siblings, our brethren, including those who are older than us — will record in their hearts what they observe. Their care may not be immediately obvious. But in time, those whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of Christ manifested in His people will testify to the blessing they have received, and it will be evident that their care and affection are genuine.

Our Enemies Care

The Christian has three enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. It may seem strange to mention that if we falter, our enemies care. But the Apostle Paul, in speaking about Satan, says, “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). The Lord Jesus exhorted His disciples to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
The Devil
Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10). He deceives the whole world (vs. 9). “He was a murderer from the beginning.  .  .  .  There is no truth in him.  .  .  . He is a liar” (  John 8:44). While he can never touch the eternal security of anyone who believes in Jesus, he strives incessantly, through his many “devices” (such as accusations, deceit and lies) to destroy the present joy of the believer by luring him into sin in one form or another. In this sense, the devil cares greatly when we falter. It represents another victory for his evil purposes and ways.
The World
The world also cares. When David sinned grievously with Bath-sheba, the prophet Nathan told him, “By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Sam. 12:14). It assuages the conscience of an unbeliever when a believer indulges in the same habits and lusts that characterize the unsaved person’s life and renders relatively powerless any attempts to witness for Christ and eternal matters.
The Flesh
Our third enemy, our flesh — the old nature with which we were born as a child of Adam — cares as well. Peter says, “He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). In other words, when we walk in the power of the new life that we possess in Christ, we don’t sin and, consequently, the flesh suffers because it has no room to act in that life. On the other hand, if we walk in the flesh, we won’t be done with sin in our lives, because the activity of the flesh prompts us to sin.
This “care” shown by our enemies does not, of course, flow from pure motives. It is entirely a selfish interest, seeking its own good, not the blessing of its object. Yet Satan is crafty and can provide the appearance of genuine care that is nothing more than a deceptive lure into his trap. We who truly belong to the Lord Jesus possess a new life that knows what is true, discerns the care that flows from the heart of God through His people, and responds to the activity of that new life in another believer. Let us not be fooled by any of the many “devices” of our enemies.

Still No One Cares?

“If I falter, Lord, who cares?” We have seen that the Lord Jesus does, and His people, our brethren, do. The enemies of the believer do too but only in ways that are diametrically opposed to the spirit of Christ and true affection for the good of His own.
What if, knowing all this, we still feel like no one cares? What if we feel like circumstances in our lives have gone so awry that it seems like even the Lord Jesus doesn’t care about us? What if everywhere we turn, relationships with others we thought were our friends are so messed up that we can’t see anything that feels like care from them for us?
There are many aspects to these questions that would be impossible to cover adequately in one short pamphlet. Let’s look at a few thoughts that should help us get to the bottom of these feelings.
Believe God
First of all, do we believe God and His Word? “God, that cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). “It was impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18). “The truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21; also John 14:6). “The Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6; also John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). “Thy word is truth” (  John 17:17). There is no other stable, sure, absolute foundation on which to anchor our souls. We must get back to this solid rock and rest with complete confidence in what God has told us in His Word about His love and His care — for us, not just for everyone else. “Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
Read His Word
Let’s make sure that we’re in the habit of daily reading His Word. And let’s read it each time with the fresh attitude of desiring to learn something more about the heart of our God and our Father — to learn more about Him. After all, this is where we’re going to get to know Him as He truly is. Others may present a distorted or improper picture, through their lives or their teachings, of who God is or what He is like, but He has given us a beautiful, consistent and complete revelation of Himself — His person, His character, His heart and His ways — in His Word. It is the delight of the Holy Spirit, who indwells each of us, to reveal these treasures to us (  John 16:13-15).
Besides giving us the opportunity to get to know the heart of our Father, the Word of God also faithfully opens our own hearts to us for self-judgment. “The word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 JND).
If we feel like no one cares for us or about us, sometimes one character or another of the flesh is active in our hearts to produce such feelings. Pride and an independent spirit keep us from being willing to receive the care that others try to display towards us. Jealousy blinds our eyes from seeing the care shown to us when we are envious of others receiving that same care. Bitterness over past hurts makes us misjudge and not appreciate the present kindness and care of our brethren.
These are natural weeds of the human heart, but they are all the works of the flesh, not the Spirit. The only hope for blessing and victory in our lives is to identify each one in God’s presence for what it truly is, judge it before Him to be the work of the flesh, confess it to Him as sin, and continually pray for grace to be overcomers in these areas of our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and the new life that we have been given.
In conclusion, let’s always remember that the One who gave everything — who gave Himself — for our eternal blessing cares with infinite love about every detail of our lives now too. If there are those that He has placed in His body who have real care for our souls and how we get on, how much greater is His perfect, never faltering, genuine care and affection for us. May the words of this hymn (Little Flock Hymnbook, #243) express the true desire and prayer of our hearts each day:
O Lord! we would delight in Thee,
And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in every trouble flee,
Our safe, unfailing Friend.
When human cisterns all are dried,
Thy fullness is the same;
May we with this be satisfied,
And glory in Thy name.
No good in creatures can be found;
All, all is found in Thee;
We must have all things and abound,
Through Thy sufficiency.
Thou that hast made our heaven secure
Wilt here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, can we be poor?
Christ who for us has died!
O Lord! we cast each care on Thee,
And triumph and adore;
Oh that our great concern may be
To love and praise Thee more.