Have you ever felt like things were so difficult in your life that "no one cared" about what you were going through? I have.
But the truth is, you always have an advocate — because God C.A.R.E.S.
You are never alone. And at His very core — God is good!
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Regardless of the terrifying storms of life surrounding you, it is vital to anchor your soul in Christ and keep your eyes fixed on Him.
The wind and waves of today may look frightening, but when you fix your eyes on Christ, you only see His goodness and you can trust His words. "Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid" (Matt. 14:27, NASB).
As you remember who God is and put your trust in Him, you can say with confidence like David in Psalm 27:1 (NASB): "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom should I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom should I dread?"
One of the best ways to shift your focus and see God's goodness in your life is by using the acronym, God C.A.R.E.S.
A pastor friend, Alex Seeley of The Belonging Co., a local church that I attend in the Nashville area, gave me permission to use her memorable acronym: C.A.R.E.S.
Each letter stands for an aspect of seeking God's goodness for your life:
C — Cry out.
A — Appeal to His nature.
R — Remember what He has done in the past.
E — Enlarge God over your circumstances.
S — Sing.
C — Cry out. You don't have to deny the pain; it helps to cry out to God in the midst of it. You have to cry some tears in order to give God something to put into His special bottle: "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book" (Ps. 56:8, NLT).
I like to say it this way: Don't live a bottled-up life; give God something to bottle up. This is the first step on the path of recovery, and you will not be able to find hope if you omit it.
It is okay to cry out in absolute desperation. In fact, it is preferable to cry out in desperation.
When you are at the end of your rope, you know you need God and that you cannot do enough on your own strength to make a difference. That's a perfect starting place and it's the best way to find out for yourself that God cares about you, personally.
A — Appeal to His nature. Tell yourself, tell the enemy and remind God of His divine nature — the attributes of His character — His goodness, His faithfulness, His lovingkindness.
Find particular verses in Scripture that help you recount His qualities. "Who is like You among the gods, Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders!" (Exod. 15:11, NASB).
R — Remember what He has done in the past. If you can't remember a single thing He has done for you in the past, or if you run out of ideas, simply resort to the Bible.
Recite some of God's mighty deeds from both the Old and New Testaments and let that prime the pump of your own memories. Recount how God sent the flood but preserved good Noah, his family and enough animals to repopulate the earth. Recount how Jesus Christ went about doing good — healing the blind and raising the dead. Recall how He died on the cross while we were yet sinners.
Then remember the time you didn't know how you were going to pay your rent but somehow God sent the money. Remember the time He made the sun shine in your eyes through the Venetian blinds to show you He cared. Remember what He has done for you personally.
E — Enlarge God over your circumstances. All of this will help you see how big God is. Magnify Him — in all senses of the word! Glorify Him and praise Him, making His bigness known to yourself and others. "Magnify the Lord with me! Let's praise his name together!" (Ps. 34:3, NET).
You need to get the right perspective. Your tragedy or loss is not bigger than God. He's always bigger and better than any personal (or even global) problem you can come up with.
S — Sing! With all of that build-up, you may already be singing. But in case you aren't, let me urge you to open your mouth and let out a shout of praise — even before your circumstances change for the better. Look at this exhortation:
"Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,' says the Lord" (Isa. 54:1, NKJV, quoted in Galatians 4:27).
Your singing will change the spiritual climate around you so that authentic faith can arise. You may not feel happy, but you will be resolute. It will be a true sacrifice of praise.
Something about this response changes things and shakes them up. That's what it did literally for Paul and Silas when they were in prison in Philippi (Acts 16). They were singing God's praises in the middle of the night and an earthquake came. They got set free, and their worshipful steadfastness converted the jailer and his entire household.
I encourage you to go through this C.A.R.E.S routine daily for a while. If you do, you will find it is good medicine for your soul. Hope will rise with the morning sun and joy won't be far behind.
Our God Reigns
No matter what is happening in the world, you can rest securely knowing that God sits on the throne and He is good.
He is King and you have a wonderful King! His goodness does not change like a shifting shadow. His goodness remains steady and sure, whether in the best of times or in the worst of times.
Place your trust in God, not in today's circumstances.
God is good, period.
With such a wonderful King, you can find comfort knowing He cares for you. He is a good God.
Cry out to Him, remember who He is and rejoice! Praise your God, who so tenderly C.A.R.E.S. for you!
Remember that God C.A.R.E.S.
(This article is adapted from Chapter 10: "No Matter What Comes, God Is Good" in James W. Goll's book, Tell Your Heart to Sing Again.)