We all face struggles, difficulties, and even trials. In the midst of those times, we wonder like the old song, “Does Jesus Care?” We know He is there, but does He see us, feel our pain, and care about what we are facing?
The Psalmist faced times of difficulty in his own life. He said, “My soul cleaves to the dust,” and “My soul weeps because of grief” (Psalm 119:25, 28). He had “chosen the faithful way,” so why was this happening to him? (v. 30). Why do trials happen to us?
We are not always told the reason, but we can have assurance that Jesus does care and will be with us in the trials. The Psalmist poured out his struggle in prayer, then testified that the Lord had “answered me” (v. 26). He was still in the trial, but the Lord had not cast him off—the Lord had not forgotten him. The same is true for us. This is why Peter tells us to cast “all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Or consider how another author of scripture says that because Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). That is a promise we can cling to.
But this grace does not mean the trial is automatically removed. Remember Paul? He had “a thorn in the flesh” that he prayed multiple times about (2 Corinthians 12:7). The Lord did not remove it. Instead, Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9). It wasn’t a lack of faith on Paul’s part. Rather, God had a plan for the difficulty and would accomplish His purposes through it.
That should give us courage when we are facing trials. The reason we can “consider it all joy” in these circumstances is not that we are suffering—we rejoice in anticipation of what God can do through the trial if we let Him (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4). The truth is that there are some aspects of Christian growth that can come about in no other way. That doesn’t mean the suffering itself is “good,” but what God can do through the storm is indeed good (Romans 8:28). We can rest in knowing that as we yield ourselves to Him, He will fulfill His plan.
Our hope goes even further than that. God is not distant in our trials. We may be going “through the valley of the shadow of death,” but He’s not simply waiting on the other side for us (Psalm 23:4). Rather, David can say that in the midst of all that darkness, “I fear no evil, for You are with me” (v. 4). The Lord was right there with David every step of the way. And a side note here: the valley was the turning point in that passage from a somewhat impersonal, third-person way of referencing the Lord to an intimate, close, first-person way. He goes from saying “He leads me,” to saying, “You are with me” (vv. 2, 4). David grew closer to the Lord through that valley.
Back to the main point. Like the Psalmist of Psalm 119, we may feel low to the ground, unable to rise up. But we too can have assurance that the Lord hears us. We serve the “God, who comforts the depressed” (2 Corinthians 7:6). We may be going through a valley, but He hears us, He is with us, He cares for us. We may not always have a feeling of closeness to Jesus, but we can be assured He “will never” leave us (Hebrews 13:5, 6). So whatever you may be facing, cling to Jesus. He is there, and He does indeed care for you.