Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On Anxiety and Casting our Cares

"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."
(1 Peter 5:6-7)

As a child, my family and I would occasionally go to the lake and go fishing with our rod and reels. I would even bait my own hook and wipe the worm (or cricket) guts on my clothes - and I enjoyed it! I was quite the tomboy. :)

But Scripture provides images of the disciples casting out large nets to gather the fish. So, casting our anxieties is throwing ourselves before the Lord; putting forth all of our energy into bowing before the Lord and uttering up all of the unbelief that is in the heart - the unbelief that God is not big enough for this task; repenting from that belief and proclaiming that He is all powerful. Then, submitting ourselves to His plans and desires for our lives.

Here's what John Piper says:

How Do You Cast Your Anxiety on God?

Now what does it mean to cast your anxiety on God? How do you do that?
Getting Help from the Same Word in Luke 19:35
This word "casting" in verse 7 occurs one other time in the New Testament—in Luke 19:35, in exactly the same form. It's Palm Sunday and the disciples have been sent to get the donkey for Jesus to ride on. Then verse 35 says, "They brought it to Jesus, and casting their garments on the colt, they set Jesus on it."
So the meaning is simple and straightforward: if you have a garment on and you want an animal to carry it for you, you "cast" the garment on the animal. In this way you don't carry it anymore. It's on the animal not on you. The donkey works for you and lifts your load.
Well, God is willing to carry your anxieties the same way a donkey carries your baggage. One of the greatest things about the God of the Bible is that he commands us to let him work for us before commanding us to work for him. "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22). "Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save" (Isaiah 46:4). "From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).
God wants to be a burden bearer because it demonstrates his power and puts him in a class by himself among the so-called gods of the universe. "No one has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him." So throw the garments of your anxiety onto him. He wants to carry it.
Practically How Do You Do That?
You do it by trusting the second half of verse 7 very specifically in relation to your specific anxiety. The first half of verse 7 says, " . . . casting all your anxiety on him . . . " and the second half of the verse says, " . . . because he cares for you."
Here is where the rubber meets the road. How do you practically make the anxiety transfer from your back to God's back? The answer is: trust that he cares for you. Believe this promise. Trust him. It's a matter of practical trust.
That promise does not hang in the air. It is connected to a command and the promise is meant to show you how to obey the command. The command is, Cast your anxiety on God. The promise is, God cares for you. That means, he cares about the thing that has you worrying. He wants to be trusted for that.
Lay a Specific Anxiety on God
So often we trust God in the abstract. Yes, he is a trustworthy God. Yes, he can save sinners in general. Yes, he will work it all out, generally speaking, for my good.
But a text like this means, Lay a specific anxiety on God. Trust him specifically that he cares about that. Believe that he is God. His purposes cannot be thwarted. "I know that you can do all things, says Job, and no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2).

There's much more, and you can read the rest here or you can listen to it here.
Piper has some other great thoughts on how to get practically humble here (because anxiety stems from pride, humility is the key to overcoming it).


  1. I love the visual picture of "casting" our cares - I never thought of it in context of fishing before...

    Wanted to wish Shanti a happy birthday!


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