“If you can't take the Heat;” you know what ends that phrase: “Get out of the Kitchen!” Sometimes we feel like that, but God never tells us to leave when we begin to wonder if He is the One who has left. Instead, He finds a way to assure us of His presence.
Think about Job – patient and submissive at first, he eventually began to wonder why God wasn't turning down the heat.
Think about David – he was willing to be anointed king as a teenager, and then began to wonder how many years he would have to endure the hounding of the psychotic Saul.
Think about Elijah – he melted down after defeating the prophets of Baal, running for hours into the wilderness where he crashed in a cave, burned out and over-done.
Think about Paul – alone in jail in Rome after suffering terrible indignities and persecution for the cause of Christ.
And then think about Jesus – under such pressure in the Garden of Gethsemane that he sweat drops of blood, all the while asking God if there wasn't some way to avoid what He knew was coming.
In every one of these circumstances, and more, individuals like you and I thought they were cooked—over done—abandoned by the God they served and whom they thought cared for them. Yet in every case, that same God proved He did care by seeing them through.
Sometimes God comforted them himself as he did with – Job and Elijah.
Sometimes God comforted them by sending another person as he did with Epaphroditus from Philippi ministering to Paul in prison (Philippians 4:18), or even by sending an angel to Jesus in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).
However He chooses to demonstrate His care, we are never left alone. But as I read the New Testament, I believe the primary way God intends to encourage His people today is through the members of Christ's Church caring for one another. If you take your concordance and search for the phrase "one another" in the New Testament epistles, you'll find it occurring 56 times. Not every occurrence is directly related to caring for one another, but the frequency highlights how intimately we are to be involved in one another's lives.
Guess who gives us the grace, desire, and ability to care for one another? It is God Himself because He cares for us. If there is any love, any care, any compassion, or any relief that comes to us through one another, it can always be traced back to God. To paraphrase 1 John 4:19, "We care because He first cared for us."
If you are feeling stressed out right now, wondering how much longer you can take the heat, I encourage you to put yourself in the caring place – first, alone in the presence of God where you can from II Peter 1:4 soak in His "exceedingly great and precious promises" then in the presence of His people so God can tangibly care for you through them.
God is our divine Caretaker in whom we find rest for our over-done soul.
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