Summary: God cares about, and makes provision for our every need.
God Cares About You
Text: James 5:13-18
1. Read James 5:13-18
2. Illustration: A little boy was eagerly looking forward to the birthday party of a friend who lived only a few blocks away. When the day finally arrived, a blizzard made the sidewalks and roads nearly impassable. The lad’s father, sensing the danger, hesitated to let his son go. The youngster reacted tearfully. "But Dad," he pleaded, "all the other kids will be there. Their parents are letting them go." The father thought for a moment, then replied softly, "All right, you may go." Surprised but overjoyed, the boy bundled up and plunged into the raging storm. The driving snow made visibility almost impossible, and it took him more than half an hour to trudge the short distance to the party. As he rang the doorbell, he turned briefly to look out into the storm. His eye caught the shadow of a retreating figure. It was his father. He had followed his son’s every step to make sure he arrived safely.
3. Isn’t that a picture of how much God cares for us?
Proposition: God cares about, and makes provision for our every need.
Transition: James shows us four ways in which God cares for us.
I. God Cares About Your Emotional Needs (13)
A. Is Any Among You Afflicted?
1. In verse 13, James asks the question "Is any among you afflicted?"
a. What does James mean by "afflicted?"
b. Afflicted: to suffer physical pain, hardship and distress —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
c. What James is talking about here is emotional pain that comes from difficulties.
2. Illustration: Time magazine’s June 6, 1983 cover story called stress "The Epidemic of the Eighties" and referred to it as our leading health problem; there can be little doubt that the situation has progressively worsened since then.
a. Numerous surveys confirm that adult Americans perceive they are under much more stress than a decade or two ago.
b. A 1996 Prevention magazine survey found that almost 75% feel they have "great stress" one day a week with one out of three indicating they feel this way more than twice a week.
c. In the same 1983 survey only 55% said they felt under great stress on a weekly basis.
d. It has been estimated that 75 - 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems.
3. We have a problem with stress, but God has a solution - PRAY!
4. James says "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray."
a. James says the correct response to suffering is to keep on praying about it.
b. This is not necessarily a prayer for deliverance from the trouble, but for the patience and strength to endure it.
5. However, James is not alone in this solution.
a. Lk. 12:29-31 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
b. Phil. 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
6. Don’t stress about it; pray about it!
B. Is Any Among You Cheerful?
1. Another thing that James mentions here that is sometimes overlooked is praising God when things are going well.
2. He says "Is any merry? let him sing psalms."
3. People have a tendency that when things aren’t going so well to be right there asking God for help. However, when things are going well we forget about God all together (Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 22, 355).
a. Who do we think is the one responsible for causing things to go well for us?
b. We complain to Him when things are not going well, but forget to praise Him when things are going well.
4. If we are fortunate enough to be happy, we should thank God by singing praises to the Lord.
a. Because our praise is directed to God, singing is actually another form of prayer.
b. There is a famous saying that says "He who sings prays twice."
c. Heb. 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Transition: Don’t forget God when you’re happy, because He is the reason for your joy.
II. God Cares About Your Physical Needs (14-15)
A. Is Any Sick Among You
1. One characteristic of the early church was its concern over and care for the sick.