Cast Your Anxieties on Him, Because He Cares for You
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Devotional for Day 14
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)
Dear praying friends,
Thank you so much for banding together to cry out to God. The plague is in our cities and the overwhelming, global ripple effects are challenging even seasoned prognosticators. As we continue to consider what our godly response should entail, I am grateful that following Jesus does not mean we are amazing all of the time (yes Google, I am not a robot). I have personally been grappling with an undercurrent of anxiety in the past week that has been as relentless as the tide. On the contrary the Apostle Paul, in a refreshingly transparent way, recalled a time when he and his ministry companions “were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). It was only after this admission that he framed his experience within God’s redemptive purposes.
Likewise, Peter didn’t dodge grim realities in his letter to “the elect exiles of the dispersion,” but spoke candidly of the thread of suffering that weaves its way throughout our lives. He told them how to keep the faith and find God’s peace. It is instructive that the imperative (command) in this portion of chapter 5 is to “humble ourselves,” while the dependent participle “casting” serves to tell us exactly how to humble ourselves when we are anxious. Our relationships should never be reduced to a mere formula, but the Scriptures provide us with some incredibly helpful instructions. This passage is a perfect example.
It requires humility—a right understanding of who God is and who we are as creatures made in His image—for believers to pray honestly and with expectation. It took me a very long time to become comfortable confessing my sins and admitting my fears. When I pray for relief from this kind of affliction, I first ask God to show me why I am anxious. What exactly am I afraid of? After we talk about it for a while I acknowledge that I am not able, in my own strength, to find the deep, recalibrating peace that only God can give.
The colorful image of throwing off our cares, one at a time (“all your anxieties”), is then enormously helpful. This visual helps me to accomplish the transaction but it is not enough in and of itself. Our agency on this battle line in our soul is faith. And that is why the most important feature of Peter’s exhortation is his reminders of the very nature of God. We humble ourselves “under the mighty hand of God,” which is a repeated Old Testament metaphor for divine deliverance. Then Peter, who was uniquely qualified to make such a statement (!), refers to his Lord as “the God of all grace.” Amazing. But the phrase that resonates with me more than any other and inspires my faith is this: Peter invites us to cast our cares on the Lord “because he cares for you.”
Father, thank You for never leaving us and for always hearing our cries for help. We could twist and turn in the wind in every possible direction to find relief, but only You can make the winds cease. We are desperate for Your peace to fill our souls—one day at a time—and we (literally) will not rest until we find You in this storm. Please take away my fear of _________ and restore my peace in Christ. We are not only concerned with ourselves. Whom would You have us bless today? Please bring people to mind. As Your under-shepherds, we desire “to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Ministry Director, Christian Union Gloria