“I envy John. He doesn’t have a care in the world.” How do you know? We all have our cares. They are a part of life. Looks can be deceiving.
A few weeks ago I taught at a Bible Camp. A woman sat in the front row with her husband looking like she didn’t have any problems. She was the picture of health. It appeared that she and her husband were devoted to each other and they had two lovely children.
Yes, they appeared to be a care-free family; that was not the case. After the session ended she visited with me, and in a few minutes she let me look into her troubled soul. This woman had a tumor. As soon as they returned home she would have surgery, and the doctor had not been encouraging about her prognosis. The future for her was frightening as she looked at her husband and children and said, “I so want to live and be a wife and mother to my family.”
We all have these cares to a greater or lesser degree. This is difficult for some of us to accept, especially if we have lived for years without any real problems while others have suffered in many different ways.
When these cares do come, there are those people who ask the naive question, “Are not Christians supposed to be exempt from the real hardships of life?” The Christian knows that this is not the case. Peter demonstrates that Christians are not exempt from the tough times in life. He had been a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Now he sat in a jail facing death. Yet, this was not a surprise to Peter, for our Lord told him that he would die for the cause of Christ.
Nero was on the throne. This emperor was not going to let this Christian movement get out of hand so the persecution of Christ’s followers was heating up. Peter could accept this death, for he knew a place was waiting for him in the heavenly home, but he couldn’t help but wonder how he would die and what would happen in those last days. After all, the disciple was also a human being. He also could have wondered how the people who had become Christians through his ministry would fare. Would they fall away from Christ or would they grow and become giants in the faith?
It is in this setting that Peter writes, “Cast all of your anxieties on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:6.
What do we do with our cares?
Some internalize them. “These are my problems, and I will not bother others with them,” is a common answer, especially among men. It seems to be a sign of strength to handle your own problems. So we go around looking as if everything is in order when inside we are torn apart.
Others broadcast their cares. There are no secrets in their lives. If in passing you ask them how things are going, you will be in for a lengthy conversation. We all know people who are like this. If you are running short on time, you had better not ask how they are or you will be tied up for a long time.
There are those people who try to drown their problems. This is a temporary answer that only makes the problem worse. I refer to the people who turn to drugs and alcohol. “Get me a drink,” is the plea of the person who has been given some bad news and needs something to see him through his dilemma.
The alcoholic will tell you that not being able to face life is the reason for his or her drinking. One of my psychiatrist friends tells me it is a real problem for him to get some of his patients off the drugs he has prescribed for them. They have become so comfortable walking around about half awake with it and are content to live in that partially numbed state.
God’s Word does not deny that we will have problems, no matter how strong our faith is in Christ. However, as His children, we should know what to do with them. Therefore, Jesus extended an invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He didn’t say He would take the burden away, but that He would give us rest by walking through the experience with us. He would show us, in His Word, how to handle whatever is bothering us.
Peter was privileged to hear Jesus give that invitation. He had seen how effective Christ had been in his life. Later Peter gave his own version of the same thought, Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you. These words were spoken by Peter from his own experience. They were his comfort when people turned their backs on Christ and would have nothing to do with Him. They were his comfort when he was jailed for telling others about the way of salvation in Jesus Christ. They were his comfort when he looked into his own life and saw his many sins. Peter learned the peace which came from being able to deal with his burdens in a realistic way.
If you are asking how to cast your cares on the Lord, let me help you. First, you must have a relationship with Him. As with most people, before we share the intimacies of our lives we want to know something about the person who is listening. As this relationship with Christ becomes more personal, our conversations become less superficial and more honest. We are no longer talking on a superficial level.
We begin to sense that we are alone with our best friend who has the power to help us. We talk to him in our own language, and our emotions can become involved. It is not unusual for the mature Christian to share his anger with God. “Why did you permit it to happen, Father. I am angry at You. I am left with three children and a lot of debt. My husband is enjoying a leisurely life with another woman. Damn it God, I am angry!”
Do you think God would hear this prayer? Do you think He would understand you? You bet He would hear and understand you!
Yes, many wonderful prayers are recorded in our prayer books, but a time comes when we put aside these prayers and speak from our hearts, in our own words and let all of our emotions hang out. That is part of what Peter meant when he said, “Cast all of your cares on the Lord.” God knows what is going on in our lives, but He wants to hear it from you and me, and we need to tell Him.
After we have made our requests known, sit back and listen to Him as He speaks to us through His Word. Read those familiar passages: Psalms 23, 121, 46, 32, 51, 73, John 10, 14, and the list goes on and on. Read your Bible daily. It is where God carries on the conversation with us. Then find a good friend and share this Word together. Be sure this person has some understanding of the Bible less it become an activity in the blind leading the blind. I found my wife to be that friend for me. This is the joy of having a spouse who is committed to Christ. If you do not have this luxury, find that person who you can help and who can help you.
We can share some of our cares with the whole person of God. I began by telling you of the lady at the Bible camp who was scheduled for an operation that was frightening to her. By the end of the week, at a campfire, she shared her experience with the group. It was heart warming to see how those brothers and sisters in Christ surrounded her with their love and listening ear. She knew that, when they wheel her off to the operating room, several people will be praying for her, the doctors, and all others who minister to her body and soul.
May I say to you who have experienced how God can help us in times of need, play the role of a Peter. Point your anxious friends to the Lord Jesus. Tell them what He has done for you.
I must share with you an recent experience of my own. I was watching our grandson play baseball one evening when suddenly I began to see double. The next morning I went to the eye doctor, and after a thorough examination he told me that my eyes were fine and the problem was neurological. This sent me to the hospital and a battery of tests, which gave me and my family some concern. Finally, the diagnosis was made that the nerve that focuses our eyes had been attacked. The doctors believe it will heal in a few weeks or months and all should be normal for which we are thankful.
While all of the testing was taking place one of the technicians said, “You appear relaxed. Are you?” I told the young man that I had different feelings going on inside me. It was my prayer that nothing serious had happened. While I am 75 years old and assured of a heavenly home, I have a wife who is handicapped and needs someone to care for her.
This was a glorious time to put this sermon into practice. I told my new friend that I had prayed much since entering the hospital, and I had left the whole thing with my Heavenly Father. God has given me a wonderful answer through the Prophet Isaiah: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3-4).
The technician trying to determine what was wrong with me looked and said, “You are a Christian.”
“By the grace of God, I am,” was my reply. We had a wonderful visit and when he wheeled me into my room the nurses were wondering what had taken so long. We didn’t share what had gone on, but what a joy to leave it all with the Lord and receive comfort from a person who knew the Lord too.
“I envy John. He doesn’t have a care in the world.” John might appear as though he has no cares, but he does. Perhaps he just knows what to do with them Ð he leaves them with the Lord.
Do you know the Lord Jesus in a personal way? It you don’t, why not ask Him to be a part of your life. Then begin to live with Him in His Word. I believe your experience will be like that of many others.
Our cares draw us closer to Him. It is when we are weak that we become strong through trusting in Christ. Life can be hard and frightening. We need that friend whose name is Jesus.