In another article (134) I made a case for why God shouldn't care what happens to us when we abuse His grace and live like He doesn't have any claim on us or our possessions. But, I ended up making the claim that for some strange reason, He still cares. Today I would like to explain that claim.
How can I write that God cares when disaster overtakes us when we all know that God could have prevented that disaster if He had swung into action? He is omnipotent, after all. Everyone with a modicum of sense knows that there is a God of extraordinary power and wisdom in heaven. So, if He could prevent these disasters, and He still cares for us even when we act like He doesn't exist, why do the disasters happen? Does the mix of His omnipotence and our disasters mean that He doesn't really care?
Not at all.
God's care is not like the care of men. We have people running around on our planet seeking to establish chaos in the name of love. For example, when a murderer, or rapist, comes to trial and is found guilty and sentenced to die, we actually have people who picket and demonstrate against the death penalty in the name of love. But it is not love--at least it is not the love of God. God knows what man does not know: that evil tolerated and appeased only leads to greater evil and pain. There are only two ways to stop evil people from working their evil: 1) getting them to come to genuine repentance before God and man; 2) getting rid of them. Since the state cannot bring men to repentance, God has given it the power of the sword to get rid of them. This is the love of God: to deal painfully with evil in order to stop its spread.
No one in their right mind blames the heart surgeon for the pain that results from his cutting, sawing, suturing, and stapling--because they recognize that his ministry of inflicting pain is for the life and future well-being of his patient. But, because we are a self-righteous lot, we do not know that we are poor and naked and blind when it comes to the genuine practice of righteousness. So, God permits pain in order to move us to seek after Him and His righteousness--not for His good (He won't profit one whit if we do what is good and righteous), but for ours (we are the ones who enjoy health and good relationships and a sense of significance when we do what is right). The presence of pain does not mean that God does not care; in fact, it may mean that He cares more than we realize.
What if God didn't allow pain to follow our behavior? We could do anything we wanted and it wouldn't bring us any suffering. In that case we would do whatever we pleased--not whatever was right. Pain is the divine remedy for sin. It is like the surgeon's inflicting of pain: it seeks to bring health and well-being to the patient.
We complain too much. God's care for us was illustrated in history when His Son died on Calvary. If we were more responsive to the implications of that love, we wouldn't suffer so much. Suffering is more an attitude of the mind than anything and a sharp focus on Calvary would take our minds off our pains.