“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
–1 Peter 5:7 niv
Most parents have a similar story. We travel with our children to a park or zoo or an amusement park looking for a fun-filled day of activities only to discover that eventually the little legs of the youngster seem to no longer be able to carry their own weight. After several whines or complaints, the adult does the natural thing of hoisting the child onto their back or shoulders to carry them for the next leg of the journey.
I remember a very specific day in my own life when our four-year old grandson could walk no further and pled, “Pop-Pop, can I ride on your back, my legs don’t work anymore?” I tossed the little guy on my shoulders and carried him along. It was a burden I was willing to bear because he was my grandchild. Within a few moments, he was fast asleep, knowing that he was free of the worry and at peace on Pop-Pop’s shoulders.
It is a similar picture that Peter paints in this week’s scripture verse. The original recipients of Peter’s letter certainly knew something about the cares of the world. John Phillips wrote, “How many cares there were in that old pagan world, where God’s beloved people were hated, hunted, and hurt at the demented will of a demonic tyrant!” It is against this backdrop that Peter simply instructs them to cast their cares upon Jesus.
The word he uses for cast only occurs one other time in scripture. Luke wrote that the disciples cast their garments on the back of the colt to make a saddle for Jesus to sit upon as he rode into Jerusalem (Luke 19:35). The clear implication is that we should not hold on to those things but rather lay them aside. While we tend to resist this process as difficult or complex, Peter is saying it’s really very simple – take the initiative to let the care go and lay it down! It is just like getting rid of a dusty garment by willingly (and joyfully) tossing it on to the back of the colt. No matter what you are facing today, you do not have to continue to carry it, just cast it upon Jesus.
Anxieties will arise in our life but we are not to bear with them. God admonishes us not to worry about anything! It is both foolish and arrogant to believe that we are suited to handle the anxieties of life within ourselves. One of the great manifestations of God’s grace is in the assurance of Peter’s affirmation, “because He cares for you.” The word used here indicates the kind of care that comes from “having an interest in someone.”
I am certain that Peter could remember the teachings of Jesus regarding anxiety and the illustrations from the natural world about how the Heavenly Father took care of them.
In all of life’s complexities we can be sure that God has an interest in us. The truth of the gospel is the fact that we have offended our Creator through sin and are thus deserving of hell, but God has graciously and generously given His Son and through Him purchased a full and free redemption that is received through repentance and faith. Our pardon and forgiven He has proclaimed for all eternity. He cares that much! “Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you!”