By Aaron Brown, Crosswalk.com
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“Casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Carrying a burden is hard work. Parents can attest to picking up heavy and growing children. Construction workers spend the day moving boards and other building materials. In the Disney animation Mulan, there’s a scene where the Imperial troops train for battle by lugging two full buckets of water up a mountain. While we may not share these same experiences, we too have carried burdens. For better or for worse. And sometimes the burdens we carry are not physical, but mental. Fear, stress, anger, and grief are only some of the mental burdens known to man.
If the burden is mental then we cannot easily separate ourselves from the strain as we would a child or buckets of water. So what should we do instead? We don’t have to look far for an answer. The Bible offers a solution to this issue of finding rest away from our worries. We find that rest in Jesus, but in order to receive it, Scripture prescribes we do something first - cast away our cares onto God.
God is available to us, at any time and during any season of life. We are not meant to bear our burdens alone and we don’t have to. If mental burdens can be shared with God, how do we make sense of casting our care on to Him?
What Is the Meaning of 'Cast All Your Cares' in 1 Peter 5:7?
We read the verse about casting our cares in the fifth chapter in the first Book of Peter. The passage opens with an exhortation from Peter to Christian elders. He refers to himself as an elder and admonishes them to live life according to God’s precepts, not out of obligation, but willingness (1 Peter 5:2). In this, they will serve as godly examples for the “flock,” other Christians. Peter then goes on to encourage the younger believers to subject themselves to the elders, meaning give heed to their teachings. They should practice what they learn.
Peter then says to both groups to be humble in how they live. God has blessings for the humble but gives resistance to those who are prideful (1 Peter 5:5). From this idea of being humble, Peter is addressing all Christians when he says to cast all your cares upon God.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
In order to understand how to cast our cares, we have to understand what Peter means by humility. As a Christian, being humble means considering others as more important than ourselves. And more importantly, being humble means acknowledging the significance of God. Not at the same level or below, but above ourselves. When we humble ourselves before God, we acknowledge our need for Him - our need for Him to help us carry our burdens. Thus, we have Peter’s conception of casting our cares. We cast our burdens upon God because we cannot carry them alone. We cast them in an effort to not be overwhelmed.
We need a humble mindset in order to cast our cares, but once we do, the benefit is clear. Peter says that the result is God exalting us in due time, or in order words, God’s appointed time. There is suffering in life, but there are also seasons of reprieve. Beautifully, God wants to give us that rest.
Aside from the help that God offers, Peter reminds us of something else important. God loves us. We can cast our cares upon God because He’s God, but we should because God cares. God loves us. All of this is good news, but knowing what we can do and why we should is meaningless if we don’t know what the cares are in our own lives.
What Are Cares and Why Do We Need to Cast Them?
A care can be categorized as a burden, something that occupies our attention as much as we like, sometimes more than we like. Fear, stress, anger, and grief are examples of cares. Other examples include family, work, desires. Cares are not not exclusively negative or positive, just simply put, things that we give much consideration.
What do you care most about in life outside of faith? These are your cares. If you’re still unsure, consider what areas of your life, relationships, work, church, would cause you stress if something prevented your daily routine. Has an argument caused a relationship to become strained? Has work started laying off people again?
Whatever occupies your mind for better or for worse are your cares. And what you consider important, God wants you to share with Him. This helps us to keep a good-centered focus on things. That’s why we cast our cares. Without a focus on God, we can find ourselves committing idolatry or any number of sins. We could start to value being paid more than we value serving others, or allow fear to ruin our lives instead of trusting in God.
What we care about most changes with time. Children have different cares than young adults. Young adults care differently than the elderly. Whatever stage of life we find ourselves in, the process for casting our cares is the same. We humble ourselves before God and showcase our need for Him.
Ensure for yourself what your cares are and share them with the Lord. As you make your list, consider writing out your ideas, or talking them over with a trusted loved one. This will help us remember our cares and ensure we haven’t left anything off of the list.
How Can We Cast Our Cares and What Do We Do After?
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
The clearest way to cast our cares upon God is to pray. Imagine the relief we feel after talking to a therapist or friend about a particular grievance. There’s even more comfort to find when we recognize that our Creator is a ready, willing, and capable listener. We should talk to God even more intimately than we do our spouses, with the appropriate amount of reverence included. God cares for us and wants to help.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Another way to cast our cares upon the Lord is to give up control. This ties in with prayer, but also involves us changing our focus from what we want (or don’t want) to something else. Giving up control reminds us that God can handle all things we encounter in life.
“But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
After casting our cares, we should then try our best to be patient - waiting without protest or complaint. Scripture provides examples like Job and Jesus, as well as applicable verses, which remind us that God fulfills His promises. He will deliver us from our burdens at His appointed time. That’s motivation for hope and encouragement to endure.
What we care about undoubtedly changes with time. What we do with those cares should remain the same. We share our burdens with God because He cares about us. Whether there is something we thoroughly enjoy, or something terribly troubling, God is ever present to listen.
The question isn’t will God hear our specific prayers, but rather will we share with Him. Peter made clear that God loves us. Therefore, in our love for Him, let’s do as Peter admonished. Let’s strive to be more Christ-like and share our burdens with the one who cares about us more than anyone else ever could.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ipopba
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”
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