Everybody worries about something. The question is what should you do about it?
“Cast all your anxiety on the Lord because he cares for you”. (1 Peter 5:7)
This verse both comforts and a reproaches my worried and wandering heart when I’m staring down the barrel of loss and emptiness. When I want to curl up and cry over the good thing I don’t get to enjoy, and this scripture comes to mind, my natural instinct wants to push it aside.
I certainly do not want to focus on what I am supposed to be doing.
What is caring?
Cares for has a dual, interwoven meaning. There is the “care for” that means “take care of” and the “care for” that means “care about”.
To care for is to succor, support, sympathize, help, protect, nourish, provide. It also means that knowing, taking an interest in, enjoying, loving, keeping track of, following.
These two iterations are the flip sides of the coin. Caring is love in its practical and personal glory. You could say one is for the hard times and the other for the good times.
It is an intimate delight like a parent or a close friend, and this is how God stands towards you.
He cares. He gives a damn. He wants to know.
That’s why he tells you to cast your cares on him.
How does God care for you?
Caring is a heavy business. And sometimes the things or people that we care for weigh us down. We are burdened by the hard things in the lives of those we love.
God is not weighed down by our cares. He is big enough and strong enough to shoulder our cares. He’s got this.
Take comfort in knowing that he sympathizes with the worry and pain you are feeling. He does not sit up in heaven stoically observing and ignoring your problems.
He knows and cherishes you, and He wants the best for us. That is a true fact.
We want good things for ourselves, but God loves us even more than we love ourselves. This seems incomprehensible at times when my love for myself borders on clinical narcissism.
We want painless, effortless good, but God desires the best, which is sometimes the hardest. He is not a mean God, but he has a perspective on our good that is far from our immediate, temporary circumstances. In our most difficult, good-belying circumstance, God still sympathizes with our pain and weakness.
Why then the reluctance to turn things over to him?
Often our cares seem to deny his care. If he cared, personally and practically, why would I have worries cares in the first place? God did not stop the bad thing from happening to me, or to that person I love, so how will rolling my burden on to him, make things better?
I don’t know.
Maybe your problem will work out. Maybe you will find comfort in your hardship. Maybe you will have new opportunities to share love and grace.
This verse is an imperative, which is a grammatical term for a command or direction. God is telling us to do this. This is not a suggestion or a recommendation.
Sometimes we think that God does not ask hard obedience from people in difficult places. If you had no cares it would be easy to obey, but what would be the point?
The point is that in hard times God asks you to do what seems a hard thing.
What’s the promise?
God’s hardest commands come coupled with a promise. In this case our trust is supported by the overwhelming guarantee that God cares for you–takes care of and cares about you. He promises to know you, to sympathize with you, to take your problems to heart.
The best part of this promise is that it is unconditional. The verse lists God care for us as motivation for obedience, but not as a reward. This is not a case of have faith and earn God’s care.
He is already caring for you. Peter reminds us of what is already true to encourage and fuel our faith. God’s care exists outside of our surrendering our worry to him.
Who do you believe?
Casting our cares on God requires an act of trust. Believing that God cares for you when you have cares that mock that truth, and turning to him instead of away from him, gives feet to your faith.
The scope of faith is often limited to salvation or praying for God to give us what we want. Blow the doors off this shrunken view of God, and let the caring begin.
You are in good hands.