Our Cares and God’s Care

A verse that we all should commit to memory and upon which we should ever rely is the following: “Casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you” (I Peter 5:7). When we learn to trust this promise, it will bring us great consolation and courage.

Because of persecution, there was great anxiety among the brethren to whom Peter wrote. They were being “put to grief in manifold trials,” and their faith was being “proved by fire” (I Peter 1: 6–7). There was a “fiery trial” among them (I Peter 4:12). In 23 of this epistle’s 95 verses, Peter alludes to the persecutions and immense sufferings these brethren were undergoing for the Lord. A major purpose of this letter was to tell them how to deal with these anxieties.

Anxiety in 1 Peter 5:7 translates a word that refers to those things about which we worry and about which we are unsettled or undecided. Paul once confessed that he had daily “anxiety for all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:28). While his concern over the welfare of the Cause never faded, it appears that, by the time of his first imprisonment in Rome, he had learned the futility of “worrying” about it. He thus exhorted the Philippians, “In nothing be anxious…” (Philippians 4:6a).

The Lord made a lengthy statement on this subject in the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on…. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:25–34).

If there is a difference in the exhortations of the Lord, of Paul, and of Peter, perhaps it is this: The Lord and Paul urge us to cultivate a calm and settled approach to life that will help prevent our becoming anxious about life’s experiences in the first place. Peter tells us what to do when we nonetheless, through human weakness, become anxious and distressed.

The antidote for worry is the promise of God's care and concern for His children. The word Peter used for God's “care” refers to His interest and concern and implies both His willingness and His ability to meet our needs. If God cares for the sparrow and the raven and adorns the expendable grass of the field, does He not much more care for those who are His children (Luke 12:6, 24, 28)? If He knows the very number of the hairs on our heads, He knows and is concerned about all of our far more important needs (Luke 12:7).

The promises of God and His Son to ever be with us are many. God's promise to Israel in this respect applies to us: I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee. So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me? (Hebrews 13:5–6).

Our Savior promised that He would be with His people as they do His work “always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Peter's words are an echo of Psalms 55:22: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”

Immediately after urging us to be anxious in nothing, Paul wrote: “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6b). With deep faith in and reliance upon God, even in the face of the great trials and storms of life, we can claim a blessed tranquility: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Therefore, in a very uncertain world with Christians facing a very uncertain future in our own nation, let us fret less and trust and pray more.

Dub McClish