As a pastor and a church planter, my days are often consumed by problems and difficulties. Those I seek to serve and pastor come to me with situations, concerns and crises regularly. The ins-and-outs of ministry, email, finances, and the future provide much fodder for prayer and concern. If i am not careful, worry begins to set in, and anxiety takes root in my heart, and my ability to see clearly the road ahead and minster to those around me is hindered by my own fear and trepidation. Few passages of scripture have ministered to my soul more than 1 Peter 5:6-7.
As Peter is concluding his letter to the elect and suffering Christian exiles in Pontus, Galatia, Capadoccia and Bythinia, he encourages them with the following:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.”
Believers must humble themselves under God’s might hand, regardless of how that hand is made manifest. They might experience that hand in judgment through persecution, or deliverance through protection. Regardless of how His hand is experienced, the believers response is one of humility. They accomplish this act of humility by casting their anxieties on God. Peter has provided the reader with the “what” (humility), and the “how” (casting), but now he moves in short order to provide the “why.” Believers approach God and rely on Him because He cares for them. This simple profound truth animates the entire text of 1 Peter, indeed it is seen through out the scriptures. This type of care is seen in the gospel of John 10:13; where Jesus tells of the hired hand that abandons the sheep because he does not care for them. In contrast, the true shepherd would leave the flock to pursue even one lost sheep. This caring and concern is in view in this passage.
God cares for His people from beginning to end, throughout all circumstances. We do not rely on an unsympathetic God, or one who is distant or emotionally uninvolved. No, Peter systematically displays the myriad of ways in which God cares for His people. Listing them below grants us the ability to grasp the scope of God’s manifold care for His people as outlined in 1 Peter:
-1:3 God has caused us to be born again to a new hope.
-1:4 God has given us an inheritance
-1:5 God guards us
-1:9 God grants us the salvation of our souls
-1:18 God ransoms us from futile ways
-2:5 God Builds us up
-2:8-9 God calls us out of darkness and into marvelous light
-2:10 God makes us His people and gives us mercy
-2:21 Christ suffered for us, providing us an example
-4:11, 13 God allows us to take part in the glory of Christ
-5:4 God will give us an unfading crown of glory
-5:7 God cares for us
-5:10 God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.
In the face of this litany, Peter asks his readers to cast their anxieties on God; this is an ultimate act of humility. We are to be humble because God cares for us. We are to display our humility by casting our anxieties on Him. When we are beset by uncertainty, it it tempting to try and figure our own way out of difficulty. We may believe, because of our own finite capacity, that God can not carry our concerns away. But how comforting is it to know, that He is there, He is infinitely caring and He is commanding us to cast those anxieties unto Him. Pastor, know that God can, moreover He wants to carry your burden, so for the love of God, let Him.