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Sunday, January 21, 2018

cast your cares

Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:7

I’m not quite sure why this one is so hard—this casting of our anxieties on the One who cares for us.  It sounds so easy, in theory at least.  But it is oh so hard in practice.  Because it seems like no matter how well I start out, the anxieties always end up right back in my hands, or on my heart.  What is the secret to giving them to God, and then leaving them with God?  I guess if I had the answer to that question I would be a rich man.

I certainly don’t have a formula, but the verse itself, and those preceding it, might give us some helpful hints.  The Greek word used here for cast is epiriptō.  It means to throw upon.  The only other time it is used in all of the New Testament is in Luke 19:35 where it tells us that the disciples took off their garments and cast them upon the colt so that Jesus could ride into Jerusalem.  So it would appear that this casting is comprised of two parts—a taking off and a putting upon.  In other words, we cannot successfully cast our cares upon the One who loves us if we are unwilling to completely let go of them ourselves.  We must take them off in order to cast them upon.  Maybe this is where (one of the many places) we have trouble.  We want to give our burdens to God, but we still want to hold onto them, and control them, ourselves.  Obviously, this does not work.  We must first take them off, as the disciples took off their garments in order to cast them upon the colt.

I think the essence of this refusal to completely let go of our worries, cares, and burdens involves two things.  First, it involves an underlying belief that somehow we can manage our anxieties on our own—maybe even better than God can.  Control is a big issue for us, especially when we are being required to let go of it.  Somewhere along the line we have to become convinced of our own helplessness to truly be able bear the weight of these burdens.  That is the essence of the verse that precedes this invitation to cast our cares upon Him.  It calls us to a posture of humility.  It tells us that in order to fully give God our concerns, and let go of them ourselves, we must humble ourselves.  There is no other way.  We must admit we can’t do it and we must stop trying.  A lowering is required—a descent.  And in our culture, boy how we hate to descend.  We must come face to face with the fact that we cannot manage life—or our anxieties—on our own.  And that is a hard pill to swallow, much less admit.  Thus, maybe pride lies at the bottom of our inability to fully give our worries and cares to God.

The other thing that lies down there, in that dark place, is our lack of trust.  In our heart of hearts we doubt that God is either able or willing to take our burdens from us.  Or even worse, we are afraid of what he might do with them if we did.  We are afraid that if we give him full control of the things and the people that matter the most to us, things might not turn out quite like we’d hoped or planned.  In essence, we doubt the goodness of his heart.  It is not a new struggle.  In fact, it goes all the way back to the garden.  One of the most common strategies of the enemy is to get us to doubt the goodness of God’s heart—thereby making us believe that we must take matters into our own hands.  Which would mean that we are forever destined to a life of trying to manage and control outcomes that we have absolutely no ability to manage or control.  Or, in other words, endless anxiety.

Somehow we must choose a different way.  We must walk the path of trust.  We must become convinced of the goodness of God’s heart.  We must truly believe that God (as Psalm 62:11-12 tells us) is both strong and loving.  That he is both willing and able to carry our burdens, and to care for our lives.  In other words, if we are ever to succeed in the art of casting all of our anxieties on him it will be because we have become 100% convinced of the fact that he deeply cares for us.

Help me, O Lord, to cast all of my cares on you because you care for me.  Help me to see every happening, every circumstance, every event, conversation, and moment as an invitation to know you better and love you more.  You are my help and my hope.  You are my all.  Hold me in your strong and tender arms this day, that I might not fly from Thee, but stay close to your heart of love.  Amen.

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