Let me give theists a bit of a hard pill to swallow, but it may take a bit of a setup to get to it.
Does God care? How does God care? How do we know that God cares?
The hard pill, to be up-front is that it’s pragmatically irrelevant whether God cares, and I’ll tell you why:
We ask why we say to ourselves that God is love while seeing there is genuine evil in the world, good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people, and the universe itself seems indifferent.
This presumes at least that God is the sort of thing that intervenes, which presumes God is a willing agent. Some suggest God cannot act against His nature and His nature is love. That is to say, God is the sort of thing which empties itself into creation, enables, animates, and empowers it. The universe takes shape, confined and bordered and ordered not by the will of God but that how the universe is reflects God’s nature itself; like a skeleton hidden in flesh and bone. Because then we know that potential is the hallmark of reality, God’s sovereignty isn’t absolute. God isn’t an engineer but scaffolding that enables rather than restricts.
It is that potential exists that natural calamity exists. We can understand now why there is a “loving” God and a world of natural disaster. That potential also extends however to our own ability to make decisions and enjoy the consequences, good and bad. That entails to why there is genuine evil in the world. Does God choose to let this sort of thing go on, or is this too, nothing God wills or desires but is a consequence of potential? Of course a God that would allow sex-trafficking, or in light of that, rescues a little kitty from a burning building, would be a moral monster! The proposal on the table offered by some is that God cannot prevent evil; again, given the simple definition of love above, and the logically convincing premise that God cannot act against his nature.
Here’s the pill:
If God cannot prevent evil but cares, then God can only show He cares in suffering with us. Apart from that entailing to the fact that God isn’t then impassible, we have to ask what that means; that “God suffers with us”. I quote from Jesus’ experience for the best example because surely God loved Jesus most if any at all, at least in the eyes of Christianity: “Lema lema sabachthani”.
We can certainly then say that yes, God cares and how God cares is by giving us freedom, and how we know God cares is that He doesn’t prevent evil but suffers with us, and what it means to have God suffer with us is captured in the words of Jesus on the cross asking “Where are you!”
But of course you realize that for all of the theology and philosophy pushing to tell us that not only is there a God, but that God is love, God is irrelevant under the banner of Christianity because God is powerless, including its figurehead who himself hung on a cross. In other words, there is either a Christian God and He’s a monster, or a Christian God that is powerless such that His very existence is identical to a God that doesn’t exist at all; one whose very suffering with you is the experience of abandonment itself, the revelation of atheism.
This is the theological corner Christian thinking has so far painted itself into; we may either just have to ruin it as we leave the room, or wait for it to dry, and that may take quite a long time.
Just a thought.