"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you," (1 Peter 5:7).
My eldest daughter just turned five years old. She still has that total, childlike trust in Mommy and Daddy that most kids experience in the early season of life unless trauma or abuse have robbed it from them. She never doubts for a second that Daddy and Mommy love her unconditionally. She never doubts that they will provide everything she needs. She knows that she is the center of our attention and concern. And so, whenever she is hurt, sad, scared, or worried about absolutely anything, it's Mommy and Daddy she comes running to.
This morning, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to 1 Peter 5:7, one of the more well-known verses of scripture, which reads, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
In the English translation, we begin with the action, "Cast." Yet, the literal translation of this verse from the Greek begins, "All the anxiety of you..." or, in other words, "All your anxiety..." What a different impact this verse has when we begin it this way, "All your anxiety, cast upon him because he cares for you." All your anxiety. With the enormous burden of anxiety and stress that the majority of us Westerners carry around on our shoulders, there's something profound about contemplating a promise of God that begins with, "All your anxiety..." We can relate to anxiety. We are desperate to be rid of it all.
In fact, the Greek word for "all" in this verse refers to each and every part of a whole. Peter is encouraging us to throw our worries and problems one by one onto the Lord until we have unloaded the whole of our anxiety. And the word "cast" is no accident, either. Peter could have told us to place our anxieties on the Lord, to lay or rest them gently, to dispense of them with care... but, no. God is no weakling! We can heave our worst, heaviest, nastiest burdens onto him and know that nothing we can throw his way would ever cause our almighty Father to falter.
So, who is this God, anyway, with whom we're supposed to entrust our deepest hurts and fears? The passage we're reading calls him Theos, meaning God, the Creator and owner of all things. Whoa. Can we stop in awe for a moment here? All our anxiety we cast on Theos, the very being who created and owns everything. Everything.
Why? Because he cares about me. The word "care" here has a connotation of concern, even anxiety. Have you ever imagined that God is concerned about you? Do you know that he has a level of care for you that goes so deep as to nearly resemble worry or anxiety over you? Sometimes, we have to get in touch with these familiar emotions in order to attempt to understand the incredibly deep and emotional love that God has for us.
Do you see the word play now? "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Peter contrasts our concerns or anxieties with God's concerns. I have concerns up the wazoo, amounting to an interminable list of worries. God is concerned about one thing: me.
This verse is a reminder of the beautiful, childlike nature of the Christian faith. Because God is concerned about me, I can and should give all my concerns to him. Like a child to a parent, I should race to him with every worry and fear, trusting that my Father will embrace me, protect me, and step out to fight my battles. What anxieties are you clinging to today? Is it time to cast them onto the God who created and owns all things?
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(NOTE: This post is in no way intended to over-spiritualize the treatment of anxiety disorders. Far from it: I only hope to share some encouragement for all of us in this stressed out, weary world.)