The other day I had some things on my mind and just felt troubled and full of concern. I got in the car and was listening to a Christian radio station and it was just finishing up a short break between songs. I knew I’d be at work in a few minutes and wanted some encouragement before arriving and starting my work day. I prayed that God would put on a song that would encourage me through the day. This is the one that came on:
“Cast My Cares” by Tim Timmons
This week as I prayed about what to teach for the Sunday morning service, God brought to mind this song and 1 Peter 5:7. While thinking over the lyrics of the song, I started considering how God could use me to encourage the girls this week: to trust God and cast our cares on Him.
What we face: anxiety, worry, burdens, cares, troubles, situations, problems, crises, difficulties, uncertainties, concerns. Did you ever realize how many synonyms that we have for this?
How we feel about these: overwhelmed, scared, frightened, anxious, worried, burdened, distracted, unsure, stressed, concerned.
When I started thinking about what other verses that I should use for the study, this passage came to mind:
Matthew 6:25-34 says:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
When we go through hard times or uncertainties, we need to turn to God and focus on and trust Him. We need to put God first because even when we worry and try to figure things out on our own, it doesn’t really help us. If we are truly putting what God wants first, He’s able to work out all of those other things.
But how can we “seek first the kingdom of God”? One of the best ways we can do this is through prayer. Not necessarily just a list of our concerns that we read off to God. More than that, we have the opportunity to come to the God of the universe who wants to have a relationship with us and spend time getting to know Him. When we pray, the goal isn’t to convince God to help us or to shout loud enough that we get His attention. It’s really about us lining up with His will. As we talk to God and listen for what He says, we are able to change to what He wants for us or what He knows is best. Rather than us telling God what to do, as we’re talking to Him and expressing our needs and desires, He is able to bring to mind different thoughts. It may be of a Scripture that applies specifically to the situation that we’re in. It could be the encouragement of someone in our life. Maybe even of a time in the past that God was faithful. All of these can be ways that God speaks to us. As we learn to listen to what God is telling us more than just what we are telling Him, we become more like Him. Through that process, we begin to understand God’s heart for us. The Bible tells us that God is omniscient (knows everything), even when we are hurting.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 calls God the ” . . . God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Psalm 147:3 tells us that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
The song that I posted above is written off of 1 Peter 5:7-11:
“7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 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. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
This verse is really interesting because in the language it was written in (Greek), “anxieties” is plural so it’s referring to many cares and worries, but when it says that “he cares for you”, it is referring to a singular care. The one thing that God cares about is you and He is willing to take all of your cares and worries. Even more than that, we are reminded to be paying attention and not get distracted by sin because Satan is looking for ways to trip us up. This can be anything from actively choosing to do a sin, passively thinking about something you know is not pleasing to God, or even just getting so busy (even with good things) that you are neglecting your relationship with God.
The rest of this part is encouragement to the people who were following Jesus at this time. After Jesus had died on the cross, there were a lot of people who hated Christians and they were going through horrible things. It’s awesome because Paul was even encouraging them back then that they would go through hard times and what to do during those times.
Did you ever wonder why we have to go through hard times? Why does God allow evil in the world? Me, too. Remember back to Adam and Eve with me for a moment. When God created the world and everything in it, He called it “good”. The world that He created was one without sickness, evil, pain, or problems. That is the world that God created for us to live in. No need for a Savior because they walked and talked with God in the paradise they lived. While this was perfect, God allowed them a choice.
Though I’m not always thankful for it, God provides each of us with free will. We each have to make the decision if we want to have a relationship with God that will fulfill us, or if we will ignore Him and try in vain to fill that void with anything else we can find. In order to give us free will, God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. Adam and Eve chose to sin (just like you or I would have chosen) and the world ceased to be perfect. Since then, we have had to live in this fallen state. Separated from God by our sin, but provided with the opportunity to accept the Savior. The Bible also tells us that God experienced all of the same things that we do when Jesus came to earth. God loves us and knows each of these things that we go through and He promises that He will be with us. At the same time, He does not cause things to happen, but rather everything has to be filtered through Him first. Romans 8:28 tells us that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”.
When we go through hard times though, we can receive comfort from this God whose overwhelming love for us was so great that He sent Jesus to come and die on the cross so that we could be forgiven.
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
When we are concerned, we tend to jump from one thought to another and worry ourselves while weighing the options and coming up with possible scenarios of best or worse case outcomes. Rather than doing this, Isaiah reminds us that we are to be focusing on God. Whether we are praying, thinking about God’s past faithfulness, singing a worship song, memorizing or repeating Scripture, or just writing out our thoughts to God, we need to keep our mind “stayed” on Him. This will help us to have that “perfect peace” that we so desperately need in our times of trouble.
The last verse that God brought to mind was Philippians 4:6-9:
“6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
From these verses we can learn that when we do go through hard times and we begin to worry, these things apply to us:
What does the Bible say about what to do?
- 1 Peter 5:7 “casting all your anxieties on him”
- 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful”
- 1 Peter 5:8 “Resist him” (Satan)
- Isaiah 26:3 “mind is stayed on you” (focusing on God)
- Matthew 6:33 says “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”
- Philippians 4:6 “let your requests be made known to God”
- Philippians 4:8 “think about these things” (things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy)
- Philippians 4:9 “practice these things” (the things you’ve learned, received, heard, and seen in Paul)
What does the Bible say that we shouldn’t do?
- Matthew 6:25 says ” do not be anxious about your life”
- Matthew 6:31 says “do not be anxious”
What does God do?
- 1 Peter 5:7 “he cares for you”
- 1 Peter 5:10 “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you”
- Isaiah 26:3 “keep him in perfect peace”
- Philippians 4:7 “the peace of God . . . will guard your hearts and your minds”
- Philippians 4:9 “the God of peace will be with you”