Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11
Outdoorsman, I am not. Growing up in the suburbs didn't afford me many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. I have gone fishing exactly once in my entire life, and it was an utter disaster. My grandfather, God rest his soul, tried to convince me it be relaxing….I didn't take the bait. We had to get up before the crack of dawn just to cast our lines out there then sit and wait and wait some more. The most excruciating part was being patient. Why couldn't the fish get with the program and take a nibble? More often than not, I would grow restless and reel my line back in with nothing to show for it but frustration.
If you’ve been around church for any amount of time, you've heard the expression of "casting your cares onto Him." We're encouraged to give God our worries, concerns, fears, and anxieties. Unfortunately, I often handle my prayers like my fishing pool, and I’m guessing I'm not alone. A lot of us take the rod and reel approach to casting our cares to God. If we throw our burdens out there and they are attached to a string, we tend to reel them back in because we don’t trust that God is going to take them and deal with the situation to our liking.
We often get tired of being persistent in our prayer life. We want answers now. We struggle with displaying patience. We lose heart when things don’t seem to be moving fast enough, and we are not sure how much longer we can endure or how much longer we can persist in our circumstances.
Instead, we must trust that He is with us because He cares for us. When we cast those concerns onto Him, He is with us. He carries the burden. He meets us in our disappointment. Exodus 33:14 says that God’s presence will go with us and He will give us rest. All our concerns. All our fears. All our hopes and dreams. All the things that keep us up at night. We want to lay them at His feet, and He will give us rest.
When we surrender our will for His own, He supplies us comfort. He changes us. We are not anxious or wigging out. We trust that we are His and He has us. We’ve got to stop asking God to get us out of things and ask God to get us through them instead. God may not change our situation, but He always changes us.
For this to happen, we have to cut the line, so there is no possible way to reel our requests back in and deal with our circumstances on our own. We must be steadfast in our prayers to God. Not demanding, but resolute. Not dictating, but humble heartfelt persistence. Endurance leads us towards trust and transformation. Our job is not to figure out how things will unfold, but to merely keep praying, watching and trusting God with the outcome.
What does it mean to cast your anxiety and concerns to God? How difficult is it for you to do so and why?
What causes you to lose heart in situations you have lifted up in prayer?
God, I know You command me to cast my cares to You. But, I must confess that I am afraid to let them go. Rather than trust, I worry. Rather than rest, my mind wanders. So, today give me peace in these situations. Instead of changing the situation, change my heart. Instead of transforming my circumstances, transform my mind. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.