Thursday, November 13, 2014

HE CARES FOR YOU (1 Peter Chapter 5)

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

The context of this ever necessary encouragement is the exhortation to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (Cf. 1 Peter 5:6).  And we should thereby remind ourselves that anxiety has its source in pride and unbelief.  In pride we wrongly suppose ourselves capable of dealing with our problems.  Lacking faith, we refuse to trust God with them.

Worry is a prevalent sin from which no one is exempt.  The average person worries about many things, but as someone has suggested: 40% of things we worry about will never happen; 30% have to do with things in the past that cannot be changed; 12% relate to criticism by others (mostly untrue); 10% are about our health which only gets worse under stress; only 8% have to do with real problems that we will face.  All that being said, the reality is that anxiety is counterproductive.  It’s been compared to rocking in a rocking chair, a lot of energy is expended but you don’t get anywhere.  Indeed the Greek term translated “anxieties” means “to draw in different directions, distract.”  Worry is a distraction whereby interest is paid on tomorrow’s troubles.

A humorous story speaks to the need to do something with one’s anxieties.  “I have a mountain of credit card debt,” one man told another.  “I’ve lost my job, my car is being repossessed, and our house is in foreclosure, but I’m not worried about it.”  “Not worried about it!” exclaimed his friend.  “No.  I’ve hired a professional worrier.  He does all my worrying for me, and that way I don’t have to think about it.”  “That’s fantastic.  How much does your professional worrier charge for his services?”  “Fifty thousand dollars a year,” replied the first man.  “Fifty thousand dollars a year?  Where are you going to get that kind of money?”  “I don’t know,” came the reply.  “That’s his worry.”  But there are, of course, no professional worriers.

The Greek term translated casting means “to throw or cast upon.”  It is otherwise used in the New Testament only one other time (when the disciples threw their garments on the back of the colt Jesus was to ride; Cf. Luke 19:35).  We are in that sense exhorted to cast all our anxieties on the Lord.  Not just the small ones or just the big ones.  As someone has said, “Our great problems are small to God’s power, our small problems are great to God’s love.”  God is sufficiently wise, powerful, and loving to deal with our troubles--no matter how deep the heartaches, how challenging the difficulties, or how disappointing the failures.  All our anxieties, the whole heap of them, are to be cast upon the broad shoulders of Jesus.

He cares for you.  He who purposed to bear the full measure of your sins cares for you (Cf. 1 Peter 2:24).  He who serves as “the Shepherd and Overseer” of your soul cares for you (Cf. 1 Peter 2:25).  Jesus had likewise spoken of the need to trust God and not worry: “Look to the birds of the air: they neither reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they” (Matthew 7:26)?

I’m wondering if Peter reflected on his own experience with Jesus amidst a storm when he wrote these inspired words.  Jesus and the disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee when “a great windstorm arose” (Mark 4:37).  They waves were breaking in the boat and the boat was filling up with water.  Jesus himself was asleep, but the disciples were fearful.  They work Jesus up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing” (Mark 4:38).  “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace!  Be Still!’  And the wind ceased, and there was great calm.  He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:39-40)?  Who indeed?  If He can calm the wind and waves then surely he can calm our anxiety-prone hearts.  He can “impart the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Cf. Philippians 4:6-7).  There’s no need for worry when you’ve got Jesus in your boat.  He cares and He is able.

A song puts the matter this way: “I cast all my cares upon You.  I lay all of my burdens down at your feet.  And anytime that I don’t know what to do.  I will cast all my cares upon you” (Words and music by Kelly Willard; c1986  by Maranatha! Music).

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