I must say that yesterday was one of the most stressful days of my ministry thus far at Bethel. It seemed as though God had a bulleted list of tests for me to take. Last night as I sat through the church-wide interview with our potential Associate Pastor, my mind was taken to a familiar passage of Scripture, 1 Peter 5:6-7, which says, “Humle yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (ESV)
I thought back to my earliest days of preaching when I would sit nervously on the front pew before approaching the pulpit. I would read these verses and the Holy Spirit would bring a sense of calm over my soul. When these “piles of anxieties” come, we have the ability to thrown them on God’s great big shoulders. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with reality. It does mean, however, that we can trust God to carry us through them, expect His intervention, and allow Him to handle the results.
One of my greatest sources of anxiety is the fear of losing the approval of other people. I find myself looking over my shoulder to see who is looking over it in return. But when we take this anxiety to God He can remind us that He’s the only one “with whom we have to do (give account).” I also feel anxiety when too many tasks compete for my mental and emotional attention. But when we throw this anxiety upon God He reminds us that He gave us exactly twenty-four hours in a day and exactly twenty-four hours of heavenly assignments (including rest). If we can’t do it all, it wasn’t all meant to get done… at least not today.
My favorite part of the passage is the last part of verse seven. “He cares for you.” It’s directly connected to the thought that He wants to carry our anxieties. He cares about the things that stress us out and He wants to teach us the great life lesson that nothing really deserves as much attention in our lives as His Son Jesus Christ. Anxiety provides competition for worship. When we’re stressed, we aren’t meditating on God’s perfect Word. But when we begin with the solitude of silence before God, our stresses are manageable.
Are you stressed out today? Why not test God’s faithfulness to this promise? Cast your pile of anxieties upon Him… He cares for you, too!