Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Casting" our Cares

I've had a run-in with the same verse in two different venues in the same day -- a remarkable occurrence that I want to share.

In reading and discussing Psalms 3 and 4 for the Bible Book Club (see Blogs of Interest if you would like to join us in reading through the Bible in three years), Carol posted 1 Peter 5:7:

Casting all your cares upon Him [Jesus], for He cares for you.

I spent last night preparing for Lake Murray's Lady Bereans Bible study where we started the last chapter of 1 Peter, chapter five. And our last verse to study was the above verse: 1 Peter 5:7.

Carol wrote about physically "casting" her cares at one point in her life. She stood with a fishing rod in hand, and each time she "cast" it, she surrendered something to the Lord. It was a wonderful word picture illustrating the above verse.

In my life as well I have applied this verse physically. After seeing a certain doctor/chiropractor in Phoenix, he advised me to go home and really make this verse live. So after arriving home, I collected a pile of pine cones that are usually scattered all over our lawn and stacked them near the back fence. I bent over, picked up a pine cone, named what or whom it represented, and chucked it over the fence into "God's territory" (i.e., "into God's in box," as my friend Noko says). I threw about twenty pine cones over the fence that day, and I felt so light and free when I was done.

My problem is that I (figuratively, of course) tend to sneak into "God's territory" and snatch up a pine cone that I previously chucked and take it back to my side of the fence to "take care of." Occasionally I "cast" it back, but more often I keep it. Bad idea, I know. Why do I think that I could possibly "care" for something better than God can? Ridiculous. But I still find myself sneaking through the gate to sneak a "care" back to my side. I've gotta just "cast" those "cares" and let 'em stay with God.

The best thing is the reason behind God's taking care of our "cares": because He cares for us! He loves us and doesn't want us worrying about stuff that He's in charge of anyway. It's wasted energy, wasted worry, wasted thought, wasted time. I have little control over many (most) aspects of my life, so why grasp on soooo hard to something I can't control anyway? Why worry about what I can't change? God loves us so much that He desires us to REST in Him -- to surrender everything to Him -- to follow His leading in doing this action or that action because He wants the very best for us.

Sometimes God's best doesn't look like it could possibly indeed be "God's best." Is rheumatoid arthritis God's best? Is a ten-year-old with leukemia God's best? Is someone suffering from ALS God's best? From this side of heaven, it sure doesn't look like it. It sometimes looks like God is doing a crappy job. But that's where faith steps in. I'm thankful in many ways for my own illness because it has brought me so close to God, and it has interrupted my busy-ness to give me time to pray, time to contemplate, time to reevaluate. It has given me a depth to my writing I didn't have before. It has opened possibilities I had never thought possible. And it has shown me the goodness of the Body of Christ as women drove up the mountain to clean my home on a weekly basis for several years. I've learned to receive as well as to give. And although the pain is still hard to endure, I've learned to receive it with thanksgiving and with even joy at times. I can't answer for others who suffer in different ways, but I have faith that God IS at work, that He IS taking care of our "cares," and that He does so to help us to grow, learn, and mature, to become better people and more loving, thankful, and gracious in living our lives.

So it all revolves around that intangible thing called "faith." And it also involves trust as well. Do we trust God with our cares? Do we think He will do a better job than we can? Do we trust Him to do it in the right time frame? And it also involves love -- His love for us. He does it because He. Loves. Us. That's the Creator of the Universe we're talking about here. The King of kings and Lord of lords, as Handel reminds us.

Faith. Trust. Love. Pretty heady qualities, those three. He's just waiting for us to demonstrate our faith and trust as we "cast" a care or two into His hands, just to show us "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." That's worth trusting, in my humble opinion.

I may go and lob a few more pine cones over that back fence when I get done typing here....

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