“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Not to the world, but to the elect strangers and pilgrims is this exhortation addressed!
Strangers and pilgrims they are because they were chosen by God to be such. That they are pilgrims means that they are foreigners sojourning in a strange land. And that they are strangers indicates that they are not citizens of this world, but of heaven. They are children of God whose homeland is heaven, but who are temporarily traveling in this world which is not their permanent address. They are not only estranged to this world, having been loosed from it by the Spirit and grace of Christ, but they also are reckoned as strangers by that world in which they temporarily sojourn.
To these strangers God sends many trials and cares!
The trials and cares experienced by the people of God in ‘this life and in this world are not only the persecutions and sufferings imposed on them by the world in which they dwell,’ but also the common sorrows, anxieties, and cares which in the providence of God are laid upon them by God Himself. They often are cast upon a bed of affliction and pain. They suffer the loss of dear ones. They are required to suffer the pain of hunger, deprivation, and want. Such, no doubt, was also the experience of those to whom Peter is writing.
All your care! Or, all your anxiety, as the term may be translated!
It means: to be drawn in different directions. It signifies that one has more debt than capital. Our care refers to that which divides our heart, fills us with conflicting thoughts. It is that unnamable experience which makes our foreheads wrinkle, turns our hair gray, stoops our shoulders, presses out of us deep sighs and groans.
O, how many are our cares! How varied are their manifestations!
They are over our daily needs: such as, food and clothing; warmth in winter; medicine when we are sick, health when we are well. They are the anxieties over our work: the farmer over his planting and harvesting; the workman in the shop over his job; the minister in his church. There are the anxieties over our families: parents over their children, husbands over their wives, and wives over their husbands. There are anxieties over the war as it affects our loved ones. Will our sons have to go? If they go, will they return? If they return, will they be well? If they do not return, what of their wives and children? Anxieties these are also over spiritual matters: our care with respect to God’s church. Will she remain true to the faith? Will she stand in the evil day? If she already shows signs of weakness, what will happen when all the hosts of evil are marshaled against her? There are also often anxieties over our own spiritual life and development. Why is it that I so often seem to make such little or slow spiritual progress? How can God still love me when daily I seem to increase my debt by transgressing all His good commandments?
Anxiety generally occasioned by that over which we have no control!
The farmer plants his seed, and there is no rain, or no market. The laborer desires work to provide for his family, and there is none; or, he is hindered from working because he is a Christian with principles that forbid him to join with ungodly unions. The minister labors diligently for the welfare and growth of his congregation, but the truth he preaches is too hard, and the people leave, or refuse to come in, or there are trouble-makers that seek to disrupt the work and life of the church. There are the father and mother whose children will not walk in the fear of the Lord despite all the faithful instruction and admonitions given. There is the loved one who lies on a bed of languishing, who does not respond no matter how much care is expended. The angel of death takes away a loved one who to all intents was most necessary to the well-being of the home. O, there is no end to the perplexities, and anxieties which are the common lot of the children of God!
Casting all your care upon Him!
Implied, of course, is the fact that you cannot carry your cares alone. O, this does not mean that we should be insensible to the responsibility of carrying our anxieties, nor that we should be indifferent towards them when they come upon us. Nor does the Word of God here imply that we should live superficially, that we should just laugh our troubles away; nor that we should steel our faces as flint, or assume the attitude of the cynic or stoic. Indeed, when the Lord our God in His providence lays upon us grievous burdens, He wants us to feel the weight of these burdens. He desires that we cope with the various situations in life. He desires greatly that we walk in His fear, that we struggle in the battle of faith. Even though we may stumble and fall and become too weak to walk, we are called to seek the city which hath foundations; while at the same time we are to discover that we cannot walk alone or stand alone.
But what are we to do when we realize that we cannot stand alone? Should we seek for an arm of flesh to support us? Should we, as the children of this world, look for our help in horses and chariots? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek!
The worldly farmer looks to his subsidies for relief when his crop fails. The laborer of the world looks to his union to provide. The government looks to its armaments or its security councils. The sick look to their physicians for cure, and the sorrowful to man for comfort. And to these worldly we belong by nature. We should not forget this. This factor plays a great part in our lives, even when we become regenerated children of God. And there always seems to be just enough “common grace” in the world that wants us to believe that the world is pretty good after all. When a child has leukemia, and is sentenced to death by the doctor, the world gives it an early Christmas. When a family is burned out, the world in one day builds a new home with all the furnishings. When there is an epidemic or a tornado, the world under the symbol of a cross that is red stands by to ease your pain and loss. But how empty and vain are all these objects of trust! And how often the Scriptures point us to the truth that God puts His people to shame when they rely on these objects!
Casting all your care upon Him!
Upon Him Who is the mighty God of Jacob!
It is under His mighty hand that you are humbled, that He may exalt you in due time, when you cast all your care upon Him!
Upon Him, the Almighty, the All-Wise, the Ever- Living God!
In Whose wisdom your way was so directed that you are burdened with anxious care! According to Whose counsel your life is so filled with anxiety that you must seek His face! Under Whose mighty hand you are humbled that all your strength is gone, and all your carnal desire for human assistance loses all its attraction, and He drives you to cry out after Him Who would carry all your burden and remove all your anxiety and fear!
Can you conceive of a more worthy object of trust? Indeed, there is none! He Who knows the end from the beginning, shall He not know your need? He Who is almighty, shall He not be able to make all things work for your salvation? He Who loved you eternally, shall He unto all eternity ever stop loving you? He Whose compassions fail not, shall He ever faint in showing unto you His mercy?
O, indeed, you may safely cast all your care upon Him!
For He careth for you!
That makes this Word of God so reassuring, so very personal, doesn’t it?
And how do you know that He cares for you?
Behold how He cared for you when He sent into this world His only begotten Son to unite Himself so completely to our nature that in it He could bear away forever the wrath of the Almighty over against your sin. See how He cared for you when that Mediator, bearing your guilt, descended into the abyss of hell, as it were representing you in the judgment of God’s justice and causing the eternal wrath of God to be burned out so you would never have to bear it, and in its place meriting everlasting righteousness that is so perfect that you now appear before God as if you had never committed one sin. See how He cared for you when He raised up His Son from the dead and gave unto Him the Spirit of the resurrection and life so that He could impart that resurrection and life to you. Observe how He loved you when He caused Him Who is the Prince of life, your Head and Representative, to ascend into the highest heavens, to be seated at His own right hand, where He gives unto Him the Spirit without measure which He in turn may give unto you applying unto you all the salvation He merited, and where He is even now making continual intercession for you, and preparing a place for you. Behold His love for you as it is expressed in so many exceeding precious promises, all of them infallibly inspired and written in the Holy Scriptures. Do not fail to behold His love for you as it is expressed in the lively preaching of His Word which intends to stir up that faith which He has implanted in your heart that believes all His promises, that understands how all things work together for good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose; which understands, too, that all the care which is brought upon us is directed to us by a loving Father Whose only desire it is that we turn with all our care to Him, trusting that His will be best for us, and believing that His, not our will, must be done.
Observing all that, there can be no doubt that He cares for you!
Would it not then be sheer folly to turn to another than the God of your salvation with all your care?
Here then, the Word of God, all ye who are burdened with anxious care! Cease then from seeking for an arm of flesh to come to your aid. Cast all your care upon Him Whom you know as the One Who never ceases to care for you!
And how shall we do this?
There is no other way than through faith and prayer!
They who put their trust in an arm of flesh shall surely come to shame! But they who put all their trust in Jehovah, shall experience a peace that is so wonderful that it goes beyond your comprehension!
Open your mouth wide, and pray unto Him, and in that prayer lay all your care at His feet, and leave it there! Ask for grace to abide in His will and to run the race set before you with patience!
That prayer cannot fail!
For it is designed by the Living God Himself to be the very vehicle upon which He removes all your care; which, when it is removed, makes room for that tranquility that will allow you to lie down in peace and sleep when the darkest night hangs over your head and the storms of life lower.
Then yours will be the peace and safety of the Psalmist, who said: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety.”