Who Cares?

1 Peter 5: 7

Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

Whenever I ask our Father what message He wants to give to His people, His answer is always the same, “Tell My people I love them.” That is the Father’s heart and that is the message He is sending today through this devotional. If you read no further, just hear, “Your Father, Yahweh, loves you!” Today the message of His love comes in the form of His care for you. There are two things I want to discuss about this verse. First, it’s just about His love. Second, I want to discuss anxiety for a moment.

God cares for you. Indeed, He cares for every single person on this planet. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, European or Chinese. He loves you. He grieves at every single loss of life. Think of it, He knows, personally, every single person who has died of covid-19. As of this moment, 165,188 people have died from this disease. Now think how you would feel if you knew every one of those people. The reality of how many people have died is overwhelming as it is, but it would be devastating to have that many of your loved ones die before their time.

God cares for you and He loves you like He loves Jesus. You are His joy and delight. He cares about how you may be feeling at this moment. He cares that your heart grieves or that you worry. He is with you as you experience feelings of anxiety and even cabin fever. You have not had a thought or an emotion that He has not shared with you. Moreover, He longs to comfort you.

That brings up this question, “Did God send the corona virus infection into the earth?” The answer is easy, and it is an unequivocal, “No!” How could He since He is the embodiment of love? Why would He? Why would He torment Himself with over 100,000 deaths of those whom He loves? We cannot even fathom how much He loves us. His love for us is deeper than the deepest ocean, higher than the highest mountain peak. It is broader than the entire expanse of space and more intense than the brightest sun. He feels all our pain as if it is His own, because it is. So, no, our beloved Father did not send this catastrophe into the earth. He isn’t judging the earth or the people in it. In fact, the more you read the Bible the more you appreciate not only His love for us but also that He took care of the judgment problem long ago. That is the entire reason He sent Jesus into the earth. He did not send a virus; He sent a savior. That is one of the strongest theological statements I, or anyone else, has ever made. It contains the essence of volumes upon volumes of theology. He is our God and Father. Jesus is our Lord and shepherd. Would it make any sense for our God to slaughter Jesus’ sheep, the sheep for which he is responsible?

Last, I said I wanted to discuss anxiety for a moment. While some folks are enjoying a vacation at home and working on household projects, there are others who are feeling stressed and anxious. As this situation wears on, it is having an emotional impact on many people. We are directed to “cast” our anxiety and stress over to our Father. My friends, Charity Kayembe and Ann Musico have collaborated on an article which will help us do that. In the article, they explain a simple, yet effective, technique which can be used to dissipate stress. It is so easy you can use it every day. Click here to go to the IveyMinistries.org home page where you will find this article on anxiety and stress relief. Click on the picture with the frayed, ready to snap rope.

If you have never forwarded a Word of the Day to anyone, may I suggest that today is the day to change that? The article by Ann and Charity can help in this time of great need, it can even, literally, save someone’s life.

The Weaker Sex

1 Peter 3: 7

Husbands, in a similar way, live with your wives with understanding since they are weaker than you are.

Happy Weaker Sex Day!! I hope you laughed when you read that. I have to laugh. You certainly wouldn’t walk through my YMCA and come away with the idea that women are weak, even physically. I look around the classes and the women are fit and strong. I wouldn’t like to be the person who walked into our Y proclaiming that women should bow to men because women are weaker. The person who does that better workout every day because at any time there will be dozens of women who can demonstrate the fallacy of that statement.

I watch these women walking into the Y with one child on their hip, pushing another in a stroller and with two bags over their shoulders. It is truly amazing. Then they go into class and press an impressive amount of weight and just leave you speechless. And this isn’t the rare case. There are dozens of women who are strong physically as well as emotionally and mentally.

My friend, Ann Musico (author of Today is Still the Day), said recently that women are the ones who typically suffer from adrenal failure because they are so over-extended. Women take care of their children, husbands, parents, husband’s parents, and the home. Besides that, they work and volunteer at church and with civic organizations. They are the people volunteering to help with special events, committee work, prayer teams, the kids’ soccer league. It’s practically endless. In fact, I think sometimes women do too much and that is what Ann was eluding too. It can compromise one’s health. Then some idiot says, “See there, women are physically weak.”

We have all heard the “weaker sex” banter but by now all but the really obtuse realize that women are not the weaker gender. Some men can lift more weight than some women, but I would not even make a blanket statement that men are physically stronger than women, especially when it comes to leg strength. Physically, women’s endurance is phenomenal. I watch these mother’s work night and day taking care of everyone else and still make time to get in their workout. I really don’t know how they do it and it is exhausting to even think about.

The real point is that today’s verse was an admonition to honor women though it has been used to abuse them so, let’s make sure we get this right, once and for all. You only have to read a few translations to see what this verse was meant to say. I picked a translation today which got it wrong.  Others do a much better job with this verse.  Some, like the Complete Jewish Bible make the distinction about the physical strength disparity between men and women but, at the same time, minimizes it, “Although your wife may be weaker physically, you should respect her as a fellow-heir of the gift of Life. If you don’t, your prayers will be blocked.” The point which is made in all the versions is that husbands should honor their wives. The failure to do so will inhibit, even block their prayers. That is a huge deal, but we haven’t heard this verse taught this way very often. We hear a nauseatingly huge number of sermons about women being submissive to husbands though. Peter made it very clear that women are joint heirs. As joint heirs they should be treated equally, one translation says, or better still with honor. That is the point.

Women are strong. Don’t be fooled. And they are worthy of honor. And so, with that on my mind I say to all of you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!!!