As many of you know, my father hasn’t been well for some time and, sadly, his health has continued to deteriorate to the point that my mom and dad now have to make some difficult decisions about his long term care. My sister and I have been trying to help them as much as possible and are currently in the process of evaluating nursing homes and home care services for them, trying to understand their financial situation, researching the ins and outs of Medicaid coverage, and, at the same time, observing and experiencing the roller-coaster of emotions that comes in the midst of something like this. There are many scriptures that were written for such a time as this, but the two that speak most strongly to me right now are:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
I Peter 5:7 Cast all your cares(s) upon Him; for He cares for you.
I have to admit that I’ve handed my cares over to the Lord several times during the past few months, and most recently, this past Sunday morning. But by Monday afternoon, I realized they had returned once again when that old familiar heartache and the heavy weight that accompanies it settled firmly upon my chest. I began to question whether or not I was really understanding the Truth of God’s word for me in this situation, and so I decided to do a word study of 1 Peter 5:7. While doing so, I learned that the Greek word for “cast” is actually an action word that means “to relinquish, surrender, or hand over – once and for all”; and the Greek phrase “for he careth for you” translates “for he meddles, or concerns himself with the things that are of importance to you.” Wow! What an amazing thing to consider! The Creator of the Universe concerns himself with the things that are of importance to me!
The Amplified New Testament version puts it this way, “Cast the whole of your care—all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all—on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.”
I also found some other definitions for to “cast” in Webster’s dictionary. They are to “abandon”, to “get rid of”, to “shed” . . . and it got me to thinking . . . when a dog sheds its fur, have you ever tried to reattach it? That would be virtually impossible, wouldn’t it? I suppose maybe you could try to glue it back on, but it probably wouldn’t stick very long and if it did, I would imagine it could create sores and infection and ultimately injure the dog. In the same way, when we try to take our cares back on us, they can make us sick physically and spiritually. Our precious Father doesn’t want this for us!
Now imagine, if you would, a 20-gallon water bottle hanging from your neck day after day after day. . . and the pain and misery it would inflict on your body as you tried to constantly carry it around in this manner . . . and the lack of sleep and discomfort you would feel as it hung heavily from your neck, shifting in the bed, dangling down the side of your mattress, tugging and pulling at you night after night after night. “To cast, to get rid of, to shed, to abandon . . . once and for all” doesn’t mean removing it and setting it aside, where you can keep your eye on it and then hang it around your neck again later. Instead, to shed it once and for all is to remove the cap off the container of your heart and your mind and to pour it out, every drop, into the ocean of his mercy. . . never to gather it back to you again!
It’s the once and for all requirement that we need to abide by. And when we do that, what do we receive in return?
In an article written by freelance author, Shana Schutte, called “Trusting: Let God Do the Driving”, Schana summarizes the benefits beautifully. She says:
“We receive peace. Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB) When we cast our cares on God and let Him take control and trust that He knows best, we are able to stop striving and worrying and truly experience peace.”
“We receive rest. When we cast our cares on God, trust Him and, “let Him take the wheel”, there is a natural rest that will occur. Imagine a woman who is trying to wrestle the driver’s wheel away from her husband because she doesn’t trust his driving ability. Now imagine a woman who is sitting in the passenger’s seat, fully comfortable and trusting that her husband is a great driver. Which one do you think is experiencing rest? The one who trusts and is sitting in the passenger’s seat, of course. She is enjoying the scenery. She is not fretting about how her husband will get her where she needs to go. She is just relaxing, resting and enjoying the ride.”
“We receive contentment. There are a lot of things that I like to do, but there are some that I don’t. I don’t like to suck water through my lungs like a fish; I don’t like to stay up for days without sleep, and I don’t like to read books about quantum physics. Why? Because God didn’t design me for sucking water, foregoing sleep and reading books that make my brain feel like it’s been put in a vice. And because God didn’t design me for these things, if I did them, they would make me feel exhausted, fatigued and lifeless. When we try to take the wheel away from God because we don’t trust Him, it leads to emotional and spiritual fatigue. Why? Because we’re doing something we weren’t created for. God made us to lean on Him in dependence—to let Him drive—which leads to contentment, and the confidence that we are exactly where we need to be, doing what we need to do, and fulfilling the role He created us for.”
“We receive a joyful, easy ability to communicate with Him. Have you noticed that it’s difficult to communicate with someone that you don’t trust? When we’re trying to do things on our own because we don’t trust the Lord, our communication with Him will be hindered. Any conversation will be dry and ungrateful, and words of praise and thanksgiving will be replaced with complaining and criticism.”
But when we surrender our cares, trusting and knowing that the One who loves us the most is working on our behalf, our hearts will be filled with joy and peace, and our mouths will be filled with worship and praise.
“We receive love. In his book, “Reflections for Ragamuffins,” Brennan Manning writes, “You will trust God only as much as you love Him.” But you know what? You will also only love God as much as you trust Him. When love and trust are combined, they are a like a match to our faith. They will set our confidence on fire so that we can go anywhere that God is taking us without fear” . . .
because we are trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and leaning not on our own understanding.
“Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you“. God wants us to give all of our cares to Him – once and for all– so that we can stay well, watch Him work through it, and “in all our ways acknowledge Him”. It means, I have to stop trying to be in charge of the situation, give it completely to God, and then sit back, be still, and listen for His direction in the matter. By giving it up, I’m allowing God to take care of it. And I know that He can and He will . . . because He loves me.
Dear Lord, I know I’ve been too controlling of my own life and the troublesome situations I’ve been facing, and, Lord, I need for You to take charge. Today, Lord, I’m releasing my cares to You once and for all because I trust You. Lord, help me to learn from and lean on Your faithfulness. Remind me that You will meet my every need and will never leave me, so that I may confidently place all of my cares and all of my future, all of it, in Your hands. I thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful power and love over my life. And I ask all these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
Cheri Henderson, http://cherihenderson.wordpress.com