. “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
God’s elect strangers (I Pet. 1:1-2) are exhorted in this Scripture to cast all their care upon the Lord. It is obvious that verses 6 and 7 are inseparably connected. Fact is, they really constitute one admonition. In verse 6 we are admonished, negatively, to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, never to rebel against Him. And in this Scripture we are exhorted, positively, to cast all our care or cares upon the Lord, inasmuch as He cares for us.
Prayer Day—shall we pray? However, on the one hand, does not almost everyone pray? Is not prayer, especially in our land, very common? And, on the other hand, we certainly have many cares, do we not? How many are our needs, nationally and internationally, economically, etc. Indeed, we need not ask: shall we pray? More difficult is the question: what shall we pray? Shall we merely pray for the satisfying of our carnal and material desires? But, we need not the Spirit to pray such prayers. And the disciples, in Luke 11:1, ask the Lord to teach them to pray. This means that our prayers, also on Prayer Day, and throughout all our days, must be Spirit-led, spiritual. What shall we pray? How fitting is the request of the disciples: Lord, teach us to pray. O, let us pray that the Lord may give us His grace to cast all our cares upon Him.
Cares—what are they?
Cares must never be confused with that which occasions them. There are things, or circumstances, of course, which occasion our cares, our worries. These circumstances, however, are never the cause of our cares or worries. Circumstances may and do occasion them. But they never cause them. After all, the child of God never really has a reason to be anxious or afraid. Do not all things work together for His good? Is not the child of God always perfectly and completely safe and secure in the midst of the world? If God be for us, can anything be against us? If the Lord be my light, whom shall I fear and of whom shall I be afraid?
Cares, anxieties, fears are always caused by ourselves. They are the products of our own soul. Cares, then, are fearful and anxious questions which rise up out of our own soul in connection with circumstances in which we are personally involved. They rise up within us in connection with problems which we cannot solve.
The question, however, is important: which cares must and may we cast upon the Lord? First, we should not confuse these cares of this text with purely earthly anxieties which arise out of a carnally- minded soul. These anxieties occur. The standard, then, of our “good” is worldly prosperity. We are anxious because we lack the things for which we care and which we desire. We may have incurred great debts in acquiring these carnal luxuries and now we cannot pay for them. And now we are filled with fear and anxiety. We must not cast these cares upon the Lord. He is surely not interested in them. We must rid ourselves of these anxieties before we ever have the impudent boldness to take them to God. And, secondly, to cast our cares upon the Lord does not mean that we become careless, that we cast upon the Lord that which we must do. We must surely be careful. We must indeed do what our hands find to do. Carelessness and indifference are not characteristics of a Christian. The laboring man must surely look for work; the farmer must indeed sow his seed and cultivate his soil, and, spiritually, we must use the means of grace at our disposal, must surely be active in our use of them.
What are these cares in this Scripture? It must be obvious that Peter does not refer to spiritual cares, anxieties in connection with our personal salvation. Indeed, these anxieties may and do occur. The apostle, however, does not refer to them. The word “care” here must be understood in connection with earthly things and circumstances. The word itself has that .meaning. It is thus used in Matthew 6 where the Lord admonishes us to take no thought for the morrow. And it is also used in this sense in Philippians 4:6-7 where we read that we must be careful for nothing.
The cares of this Scripture refer to those anxieties which rise up in our soul in connection with that over which we have no control, which things lie exclusively in the hands of our God. God alone works all things. But we can and often do become anxious. We would, as it were, lift ourselves up above the clouds and behold with our own eyes the work of God which is His work alone. O, as long as it is smooth sailing we have no worries. If only we have our bread every morning and evening. If only we have a job and are not bothered by unions. If only the farmer sows his seed and the rains descend in due time. If only we can “see our way through it all.” But things can become different. Sorrow may become our lot. The laborer may lose his job and be unable to find work. The farmer may experience drought and see his crops burn up before his eyes. We so often would tear away the veil which hides the future and we would understand what only God knows. The way, then, becomes dark and there is nothing we can do about it. Cares and anxieties multiply; we become very fearful. How often we experience these cares!
Indeed, we must cast our cares upon God.
Negatively, this means that we must not pray that God remove the circumstances which may occasion our cares and anxieties. O, this does not mean that we may assume an attitude of indifference over against them. How could this be possible? We must not be stoics. However, this is not taught in this text. We read that we must cast our cares upon the Lord. Besides, this is not comforting to the Christian and never constitutes the essence of prayer. Presuppose that these circumstances are not removed. Besides, prayer must always be the effort of my soul to learn to know and to do God’s will. Does not Christ Himself teach us this in the Lord’s Prayer? Indeed, we do not cast “these things” upon God. It is not so that our will must become His, but His will must become ours. Yes, we must cast our cares upon Him. Presuppose that these adverse circumstances continue, become worse. Yet, we must cast our cares upon God. Let us watch and be sober, look for His coming and prepare ourselves for it.
This implies, of course, first of all, that in our consciousness God must be One Who can and will bear our cares. On the one hand, He is my Father. To Him I may turn with all my anxieties, with all my troubles and sorrows. To Him I can direct my plaintive cry, make known to him all my earthly needs. To Him I may also direct all my fears. Besides, on the other hand, He is my Father Who can bear all my anxieties. He is everlasting and unchangeable love, in Himself, and in His relation to His own. His love is always first. Moreover, He is the Almighty—not the mightiest but the only Mighty One. He is surely able to care for me. And, He is also the Omniscient and All-Wise One, Who uses the best means unto the best end, causes all things to work together for my good. As this God of my salvation He has revealed Himself in His infallible Word and testimony.
Upon Him, now, we must cast all our cares. If and when our fears multiply, sorrows and grief are our lot, and our position as in the field of labor becomes acute; if the church’s future becomes dark and it seems as though the cause of the Son of God and of His truth cannot possibly survive; if we become anxious and fearful and can see no way out, let God then bear our load, let Him give us the answer to all our anxious questions and fears. This means that we must seek to learn God’s will and do it. Let the light of God’s truth fall upon our path and may we believe in His word: My grace is sufficient for thee. May we then treasure His fellowship, taste His grace, walk in His way and experience the blessed assurance that it alone is the safe way, the way which surely leads to everlasting life and glory.
Only, to do this, we must walk in His way. We must not tempt the Lord our God, choose the way of evil and then implore His grace and favour. We, I repeat, must walk in His way. Walk as children of the Most High. Take all your questions to Him, but be satisfied with His answer. Trust in the Lord, for only then can you cast your cares upon Him. I must know that He is my Father, but then I must walk as His child. And we must trust in Him alone. He will indeed relieve us, but surely in His own good time. And in the meantime He will cause all these things to work together for our good. He is my God, now and forever.
This admonition is well grounded. We read: for He careth for you. We have here the figure of a child who approaches his father with all his troubles. And this he does because he knows that his father takes a fatherly interest in him. How true this is in the spiritual sense of the word!
What a wonderful care we have here! Literally we read: He careth over you. He is ever covering you with His almighty and protective wings. Besides, we read: He careth over you. Indeed, in a certain sense the Lord provides for all. Of Him are the sunshine and the rain, and the ungodly as well as the godly partake of them. He feeds the unrighteous as well as the righteous, bestows a harvest upon the evil as well as the good. Yet, we read here: He careth for you. This care here is the divine care of love. Of this care only the people of God are the objects. Besides, we read literally here: He careth for you all alone. Thus it was upon the cross of Calvary. Alone He cared for us. Alone He suffered and died for us. Rejected of all, also of His own, He loved them even unto and into death, the fearful death of the cross and of hell. And the same is true also now. Alone He cares for us and over us. Intensely interested in our everlasting welfare is He. And even this is not all. We read: He careth for you; that is, He is caring for you. We do not read that He will care for you, sometime in the future. But He is caring for you, even now! Even now, at this very moment, He is caring for you, now when all things appear hopeless, when there is seemingly no way of escape. He is also now caring for you, causing also this affliction, this impossible situation to work for your salvation. Indeed, what a wonderful care!
So, what shall we say? Cast all your cares upon God, the God of your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Why should we care, be anxious and afraid? Why should we carry these burdens, try to find a way out? Why should we attempt to effect our escape? Cast all your cares upon Him. Let the God of your salvation carry your load. If He be our light and our salvation, whom shall we fear and of whom shall we be afraid?
He can carry it.
He will carry it.
He is carrying it, for He is caring for you.