I Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
The Lord is challenging me to cast ALL my care upon Him. It is ironic that I seem to be able to give all of my worries, anxiety and concerns about our son to Him freely and readily. But then again, we are powerless in this area of our life. There is nothing that we can “do” other than trust God that he has been healed and delivered from cancer that that the Lord is restoring him fully day by day. It’s the difference between moving a rock and trying to push a mountain out of my way. I know that I can pick up a rock and move it. But when it comes to a mountain, there is no point in trying to physically knock it over it is too big for me. One might think that the thought of our son and his plight might consume my life but it doesn’t. God is faithful and has delivered him from this disease five separate and documented times. Now that we have returned to a somewhat normal life with a bit of routine and schedule, I find myself plagued by worry yet again. Our daughter is getting married in less than two months. Wedding preparations are in full swing. The list of tasks grows long and being the parents of the bride the financial responsibility of her big day fall on our shoulders. We want it to be perfect. We want to bless this young couple with the best day of their entire life so far. However, after almost three years of caring for our son, this is proving to be quite the challenge. It is not that the Lord has not already showed His Goodness and Faithfulness in the details of the wedding, but rather my ability to cast my care upon Him.
It’s funny how the Lord uses certain parallels in our life to paint a picture for those of us who cannot simply comprehend His Word or listen to His Voice taking it as worth. No, sometimes (at least for me) God has to show me what He is trying to tell me. I do event planning for my employer which is a technical school. Not only am I planning and executing a wedding for our daughter, but also a major event for the school. Event planning usually is a minimum of three months out and this for a smallish affair not one that includes the entire campus and community. Never would we undertake it in less time, unless of course we are about to undergo an accreditation that it would benefit tremendously. So now I have two major events in my life at the same time with my name on them. However, I do not worry about the event I am working on for my employer. I am just doing it. Again, God’s Goodness and Faithfulness are evident as the details are just falling into place. The timeline is tighter for this event yet my nerves are not tense. I know what to do so I do it. I want both events to be successful. However, I am only totally responsible for our daughter’s wedding. The school is paying for their event. There is a margin of error that is within normal bounds meaning the need for perfection is not there. I cannot put a price on our daughter’s wedding day. Her day must be perfect. It will be such a special day. I want to enjoy it. I want it to be a family affair rather than just another event. I must learn to cast my care on the Lord to find joy in this moment.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Why are these two events different? Why do I worry about one and not the other? Well, the answer is obvious. I do not have an emotional attachment to my job. I have a soul tie to my daughter – she is precious to me. However, there is someone who I love more…at least I think I do and say I do. His Name is Jesus Christ. I must learn to love Him the most. Whenever I find trouble trusting the Lord for something, it is a sign that there is a part of my heart and life that has not been surrendered to the Lord. Trust is a quality of love. True love means trusting the one who we love implicitly. God cares for me. He is worthy of the burden of my life yet I still withhold things from Him ignorantly because I do not trust Him. Like a tiny tick hidden just out of sight, worry and anxiety feed doubt like the blood being extracted from our body sustains the tick. It will not stop until we completely remove this parasite from our life. We are to be anxious for nothing. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Is it? It will be if we learn how to cast our cares on the Lord. Whatever that means?
John 21:1-11 (NJKV)
After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.
I was loading groceries in the car when an old friend flagged me down. We were catching up and the conversation turned to our son. She told me that he would be something that she would ask the Lord about along with some other children who left this world before “their time”. She just could understand it or wrap her head around His Purpose and Plan that surely must be in it all. I agree. I don’t understand why a famous Christian speaker living her life for God sharing His Word with women (and men) all over the world would tragically lose her husband so suddenly. I cannot wrap my head around a grandmother who would viciously kill her grandchild leaving a grieving empty-armed mama behind who was raising her child in His Shadow. I do not get why bad things happen to good people even more so those who are trying to live godly lives. But they do.
Imagine how the disciples felt after witnessing the torture and death of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t a single bullet to the head but round-the-clock torture of an innocent man. They had vivid images of what their life with Christ would be like. This was not it. He talked about His Kingdom but they were left behind to face the aggressive persecution. What now? What do we do when nothing turns out like we thought it would? When you cannot fix the problem or heal the hurt? When justice is not satisfied in life – how does one quiet a crying soul in the aftermath? I wish I knew the answer. The disciples went back to work. Fishing all night they caught nothing. I am sure at least one of them thought if not said, “This is just our luck.” In their brokenness, they were looking for something to do. They needed to get back to a “normal” life. Jesus was not gone but standing on the shore watching them. Jesus told them to “cast” their net on the “right” side of the boat and inexplicably the net was so full that it almost burst. Peter got it. He knew instantly that it was Jesus calling to them from the shore so he dove in the water to get to Him. Side note – yes Peter is the one who denied Jesus three times the day before He died. Nothing mattered in that moment except making it back to Jesus Christ. We must learn to “cast” our worries and burdens in the “right” direction to have God’s Promise of Good in our life. When they made it back to shore, there was already fish on the campfire. Yet, Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught…” This is an act of obedience to God. The tithe if you will in fish. I will not even begin to share the importance of tithing in the midst of your burden, worry or need. The Lord provided what these men needed and more on that beach. When we live in right standing with God, this is His Promise for our life. When we try to get back to a “normal” life, maybe normal is not what the Lord has for you. Perhaps, it is supernatural which means that we cannot act on the natural occurrences in our life. We must cast our burdens, worries, cares and concerns to the Lord, and then all Jesus to draw us closer as He meets and exceeds doing more than we could even think to ask for. The disciples were just looking for something familiar and normal. Their experience on that beach did more than fil their bellies it satisfied their soul giving them the confident courage to lay their life down for Christ.
Matthew 6:31-34 (NKJV)
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
When we cast, throw, hurl, fling our worry and concerns to the Lord it is an act of trust. However, there is still responsibility on our part to do what we know to do according to the Word of God. We must work as unto the Lord. We must strive to do good and stay far from evil. We must love others. Our hearts and minds must continue to be renewed and changed by the Word of God to seek the Way of God and do His Will. Sometimes (no most of the time) God will allow our normal life to be disrupted or interrupted so that He has the opportunity to give us the better life that He had planned. We would never have pursued it outside of brokenness and devastation but when we could do nothing at all – we trust Him to do it all. It is the moment of true weakness that we are humble enough to allow His Grace to overtake us. I have been spun up and worn out worrying over our daughter’s wedding. Jesus is asking me, “Why?” I have trusted Him for so much more yet in this I am depending on Him the least. Casting is intentional. Release is under pressure. See the difference. I came to the Lord in desperation to be released from the bondage of sin. I cried out in devastation when they said our son had cancer. Each time the Lord came closer rushing in like a flood to overwhelm me with His Love. But now in this what might be considered a little thing, worry attempts to eat away at the confident hope I found. Fear challenges my faith. I will not have it. To seek first the Kingdom of God means casting my care on the Lord and then pulling tight the ropes of my mind to haul in my faith and pick out the fear. I don’t have to worry about all the details of my life but rather focus on the condition of my heart and mind. As I continue to wrap my heart and mind around the Word of God, tell my feet to walk in His Way, and ask Him for His Will in each day – I will be satisfied. The Lord wants me to have all that He died to give me. I must cast away that which keeps me from knowing Him more – namely worry, anxiety and fear.
Hebrews 6:13-20 (NKJV)
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Over the last three years, the “anchor” became my favorite symbol of my faith in God. Anchors are symbolic of hope. Hope is the anchor for our soul that keeps us from drifting off into the world and being lost forever. I live for God because He is my hope. I love Jesus because He has given me hope once again. I cannot see that which I hope for but am confident that it is there. As I cast my worries and cares on the Lord, it adds weight to this anchor that holds me in place. With all decisiveness, I must accept my role as Child of God and Heir to His Kingdom. This will change how I live my natural life because it is the revelation that the Lord has assumed full responsibility for it. Abraham had to patiently endure until he received God’s Promise and so will we. Hope is the refuge that we are heading to. Some go like Peter who jumped over the boat and swam to shore, while others will slowly make their way there. I want to be like Peter. I want to be as close to Jesus as possible as soon as I possibly can because in His Presence I have discovered a peace that passes all understanding. Now I must cast my every care to Him strengthening this bond of love and trust until we are together again!
Psalm 107:30 (NLT) What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!