Lately I have been reading through the book of Matthew in the New Testament of the Bible. In one of my readings, I stumbled across this verse: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than they” (Matthew 6.26).
It is not that I do not believe it is true, but I must ask a question. If Jesus cares the way he says he does, why is there so much suffering in the world. Why are people dying left and right from starvation, disease, and natural disasters? Why are there genocides and war? Why are women and children abused, prostituted and belittled if Jesus cares? To say that such persons that this happens to are probably not believers and did not have enough faith is not only too simple but downright insulting for several reasons. First it puts the fault of one’s suffering back in their own hands, saying that their lack of faith in Jesus is the reason for their horror and pain. Secondly, it assumes that God cares very little for those who are not His, which is both theologically and biblically unsound.
So if God cares so much and we are supposed to trust in the fact that he does, why is our world filled with examples that depict anything but caring actions. How can people do anything but worry when they cannot afford health care, food, or a roof over their head? How can people not worry when they see their children wasting away to almost nothing because of this lack of provision? How can people not worry when militant rebels are coming after them with a machete ready to whack off their head because they are of a different ethnicity and/or religion.
Perhaps the answer is in the fact that worrying does not add one single hour to one’s life as depicted in verse 27 of the same passage in Matthew.
Or perhaps the answer lies in the fact that although these things happen, it does not change the fact that Jesus still loves and cares. He still cares in the midst of famine, starvation, war and death. Nothing can change that!
Or perhaps the answer is that the onus does not only rest on Jesus here. Yes he cares but he also asks us to do our part as those who have been so deeply cared for by him. He asks us to do our part by “preaching the gospel to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, setting free those who are oppressed and proclaiming the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4.18, 19 NASB). Such is necessary because as fallen humans we have the capacity to inflict the worst kinds of injustice on people in the name of religion, freedom, democracy and so much more.
As we begin to take personal responsibility for the words of Jesus here, let us continue to remember to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. As we do such, not only does the tendency to worry dissipate but we also begin to treat others with the same love and care that Jesus expresses.