By Jasmine Timm
I’ve been thinking a lot about snakes, bears, mountain lions, and all kinds of scary animals this week. I’m a natural worrywart, but my ability to create worst-case scenarios has hit an all-time high the past few weeks as I’ve been planning a summer trip on which we will spend two months in the wilderness. So, naturally, I’ve been coming up with plans of how I might keep snakes from getting under my tent — a legitimate fear of mine — and what I might do in the event of a grizzly bear attack.
I know my fears are absurd and that I’m more likely to be struck by lightning than get eaten by a bear. What’s even more absurd is my mind’s ability to completely disregard the sovereignty of God in matters as small as a snake slithering beneath my tent while I’m sleeping. If I believe in a God who is so mighty and powerful as to remove my sin — a God who can part the ocean, split the earth in two, destroy the entire earth with a word and yet hold it together by His own command — if I believe in a God this mighty, then surely He can keep a snake from making its bed underneath my tent.
But my worry answers back with an objection: “Why would God care enough to keep a snake from getting underneath my tent? Aren’t those concerns beneath Him?” Peter answers my objection in 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble 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.” Humble yourselves and toss aside your anxieties, because He cares for you! God cares about you. It’s not just that He has a mighty hand, but He has a heart of care for you.
In Peter’s day, the idea of a God who actually cared about humanity was foreign to the culture. It was unimaginable that a deity would be capable of actually feeling love and concern for lowly humans. But Peter says, “Listen, Christian, you know better. We do not serve a God who is unconcerned about us, yet one who in every way has become like us, who has suffered, who knows what it’s like to struggle. We know better than to believe the lie that our God does not care about us.”
Remember, God is trustworthy. He knows our needs better than we do and can provide and protect us better than we can. This is why we cast our anxieties on Him — He’s worthy of our trust. God cares about us, and because He cares about us, we can trust Him with our concerns. He’s not the type to sit idly by, but rather He will use His mighty hand to help us. Granted, God has not promised to keep all snakes away from me. He hasn’t promised that I won’t get eaten by a bear. He hasn’t promised that I won’t suffer. In fact, He has promised that I will. But He has promised to care for me, in matters large and small, even if it doesn’t feel like my idea of care. I’d like the pain and fear to be gone now, but God knows the proper time to free me from suffering. He will exalt us at the proper time, and that time has not yet come. But it will. When Jesus comes back, God’s care will be clear to us. We will be able to see clearly how He kept us in the palm of His hand for safekeeping. We will see how He cared for us and how His care was just what we needed to be brought safely to His Son. While we wait for this day, we can humble ourselves, reminding ourselves that we don’t know better than God regarding what is good for us. We can humble ourselves, willingly submitting to Him and come under His lordship, under His mighty hand, and under His sovereign care. In the words of Spurgeon, this is what casting our cares on Him looks like:
This work of casting can be so difficult that we need to use two hands to do it: the hand of prayer and the hand of faith. Prayer tells God what the care is, and asks God to help, while faith believes that God can and will do it. Prayer spreads the letter of trouble and grief before the Lord, and opens ail its budget, and then faith cries, ‘I believe that God cares, and cares for me; I believe that he will bring me out of my distress, and make it promote his own glory.’
There is a proper time for us to be exalted. That time has not yet come. For now, God sees it fit that we suffer, and this suffering can often bring about anxieties of many kinds. But this is not the end of the story, for glory is coming. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Let us throw our concerns and worries onto Jesus because He paid for them and because our Father cares perfectly for us and will continue to keep us beneath the shade of His mighty hand until we see Him in glory.
Questions for thought:
What worries you most? What situation is most difficult for you to trust God with? Spend some time journaling or praying about it. Tell God about it, ask Him for help, and state your belief that He cares and that He can do it.
How can you be an encouragement to someone who is anxious about the future? What might you say to them to encourage them toward resting in God’s sovereign care? Spend some time praying for them.
— Jasmine Timm