Author: Ron Graham
Our text for this lesson is one of the greatest pieces of advice, and one of the greatest promises, that the Bible offers.
“Cast all your care upon God for he cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7).
Three other Bible texts help us to better understand that God does care about us, and that we can cast our cares upon him...
¶“29Two sparrows sell for a small coin, don't they? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground forgotten by your Father. 30The very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't you fear —you are of more value than a host of sparrows” (Matt 10:29-31).
Here Jesus helps us to understand not only the infinite knowledge of God, but his infinite concern. God cares for a tiny sparrow. He cares very much more for you —in fact he cares for you much more than you care about yourself.
He even knows how many hairs are on your head. You neither know nor care, but God does. He knows everything about you, and he cares about everything he knows.
¶“31Do not be anxious saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What clothes shall we wear?' 32For the heathen go seeking these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:31-33).
Here Jesus assures us that God’s concern for us is not limited to caring about our souls. He cares about our physical bodies as well. He knows our every need.
He knows that the needs of the soul are more important than the needs of the body. Yet he also understands that the needs of the body are legitimate, and he takes responsibility for them. He wants us to put his kingdom first and to worry less about our material needs, because he is able to provide them.
God is concerned to ensure that there is always some way or other by which we can obtain what we need to live. At times it may be meagre, not as much as we could do with. At times it may be abundant, much more than we want or need (Philippians 4:12). But we will never go long without the necessities of life —because God cares.
¶“14We have this confidence in God’s Son: if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 Since we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know [as a foregone conclusion] that whatever we asked of him is granted us” (1John 5:14-15).
This does not say that God will immediately grant every and any request we make. That would be silly, because we could all ask God for a million dollars and immediately go and find it in our bank accounts. We know that prayer and providence don't work like that.
However when it comes to genuine needs, we can sometimes be blown away by a “coincidence” whereby a need is met in an unexpected and surprising way.
John assures us that God grants anything we ask that is "according to his will". Of course, if our requests are not according to God’s will, then they won't be granted.
We know that it is God’s will to provide us with our needs. Therefore we pray, for example, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11).
When we are not sure about God’s will, we can always make the request and say, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). Whatever God does then, it will be for the best, because God cares for us.
God always hears genuine prayers. We may not be confident that we ask aright, but we can be confident in God. We pray as we know best, and God answers as he knows best.