When I was a young girl I went to Bible camp on several occasions. One summer, we made in the crafts time a painted, ceramic plaque. I can still remember making it. Mine was white, with green lettering and gold highlights. I thought it was extremely beautiful. For years, it sat in the circa-1960 "pink bathroom" of my parents' house so that, every time I went in there, I saw it.
On the plaque was the Bible verse we come to this morning: 1 Peter 5:7. We didn't seem to have a plethora of Bible versions in those days. This verse was in the KJV;
Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
As a youth, I took this as a biblical command (rightly so) and found it pretty easy to keep it. I didn't worry about much of anything. My mother used to tell me that she was "nervous". I had no idea what that meant.
All that changed the moment I became a mother.
How well I remember riding home from the hospital with a bouncing (9 lb. 13 oz. !!!) baby boy in the backseat. Anxiety began to paralyze me to the point that, had my mother not been waiting at my home to spend a couple of weeks with me, I would have jumped out of the moving car. The sin of anxiety had already begun to gain a foothold.
Yesterday, my youngest graduated from high school. What a wonderful occasion! My heart was full, but not too full for a good measure of anxiety to creep in. The Bible says, "Perfect love casteth out fear." What a mysterious verse that is to me, because it seems like the more I love something/someone the more fearful I am over it/them. It's now a constant battle.
The NIV (New International Version) translates "cares" as "anxiety".
It's interesting that this verse does not command us to merely shrug off our anxieties or to lay them down. It says to throw them off like a menopausal woman begins to throw off her upper layers of clothing while in the throes of a hot flash. (If you've ever been one or lived with one, you'll understand!)
The key to being successful at throwing off anxiety is to focus on the promise that is in this verse: "He cares for you." Or, as The Message version put it: "He is careful with you."
So often we don't trust in the goodness of God. If we truly believe that He is going to take care of us, we won't worry. Let's be clear: God "taking care of us" does not mean that everything will go just as we want it to go. (Shocker! Yesterday, not everything went as I wanted it to.) Nor does it mean that nothing "unfortunate" will ever befall us. What it does mean is: God's got this.
One of my dear friends (who was also "nervous" yesterday - - - our sons are best friends and were graduating together) told me that when her son marries, she is going to move into his attic. What a mental image that is! She keeps me laughing. Yet, we mamas are prone to get all up in God's business, aren't we?
Do you recognize it, Believer, when God gives you a precious, spiritual embrace? After yesterday's graduation ceremony, our party of 10 was gathered outside the huge church where the ceremony was held. It was a mad crush of people, all trying to get pictures, etc. I mean - - - picture "pandemonium" here. As we were milling around, trying to get organized, an elderly gentleman in a bright green sports coat - - - a man whom we did not even know - - - stopped as he passed in front of my son. He looked at Will and began to say things like, "Young man, you are destined for great things. I can tell. I am 83 years old and have seen a lot. You will go far in life." I don't remember his exact words; but, that was the gist of it. He was prophesying over my son! I introduced myself as Will's mother and thanked the gentleman for his kindness, that his words meant more to me than he could ever know. And, then, he repeated them - - for additional emphasis, I guess. What a sweet hug from Father God, who is Sovereign over all!
Let's keep praying over those situations we don't understand, of which we tend to be fearful, those we can't control (that's all of them, by the way!). Cover your anxieties with prayer and then....throw your besetting fears as far away from you as you can. Focus on how He loves you. In The Message version of this verse, that is called "living well".
God's got this!
Lord Jesus, You are Lord of my life. I am not. It's not all up to me, nor is it for my glory. Your promises, such as this precious one from Psalm 103 are given to remind me of how very GOOD You are! Help me to believe this and to walk in confidence, remembering that it is all up to You, and all for Your glory. In Your name, amen.