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. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:6-11, ESV)
I am drawn to certain movies I have seen. Drawn so much, often times, that when I run across one while channel surfing I often end up watching the whole thing. I do this even when I know there is a copy on DVD sitting right on my shelf. One of these movies happens to be A River Runs Through It by Robert Redford. Something about this story of the life and trials of that Montana family just speaks to me, even when I know the story will end the same way as it did the last time I watched it.
One running theme, a thread that holds things together from the main characters portrayed as young boys through to the final scene of the older brother is fishing. And it isn't just any fishing, it's true river-style fly fishing. Now, I'm not really one for fishing myself. I prefer to let somebody else catch mine (plus, I'm kind of partial to the stuff you can't just pull out of a river or lake). But the portrayal of the boys and their father casting back and forth, all the while experiencing each other is just a great story. But it's the "casting" that catches my attention when I think about today's passage. While the big sweeping motions Norm and Paul made attempting to fish those rivers were exactly what they needed for that task, I'm thinking too many of us (myself included) do some fly casting with our anxieties.
When Peter wrote about us "casting our anxieties on Him" I'm pretty sure the old net fisherman was thinking about the word in a context not related to fly fishing. I'd wager that Peter used this phrase the same way he had heard Jesus call from the shore of Galilee, exhorting them to "cast on the other side". For me, it brings a picture of heaving something bulky away from you about as far as you can throw it.
In contrast, many of us will "fly cast" our anxieties to God, making sure we hold on to the line and pole so we can bring them back at a moment's notice and see if He has taken care of things yet. And then we'll cast it back, only to repeat the pattern of yanking it closer for a look at it. This might just be poetry in motion if you are fly fishing a river for trout, but it is not the way to handle your cares and concerns if you are truly committing to let God deal with them in the way He sees fit to do so.
While Peter, James, and John always intended to pull back the nets they cast, they weren't doing so for the same reasons we pull back our anxieties and check on them. They were doing their job and to fail in pulling back the nets meant no fish and no money. Our instruction, based on the 1 Peter passage, is to cast away and leave it there for good. My problem (and I suspect I'm not alone here) is that I hear the message in my head, but I have trouble leaving those cares and concerns where I've cast them. Like our fly fishing example, I haven't really let go of them as I should have.
No, I fear it is my own doubtful pride that refuses to completely cast away. You see, I develop some crazy ideas about this whole concept, like somehow God wants or needs me to check up on Him. Perhaps He needs my advice on how to properly deal with my concern. Or maybe I just don't trust Him fully to do what is in my best interest. After all, I know how to look after myself, right? Oh the lies we are able to tell ourselves at times!
As I travel the Crooked Path, part of the journey (and, frankly, part of this whole season of waiting) is to trust my Heavenly Father with all the details. That includes my worries and anxieties. Yes, He wants me to talk with Him about all that stuff, but He has specifically said to cast it on Him. And He's done that for a reason … He is the one best able to bear it and to deal with it. He has promised that nothing escapes His attention and I need to take comfort in knowing that. In doing so, perhaps I can cast it all a little farther away and leave it alone for once. It is in Good Hands, after all.
- So which is your style of casting? Are you a "throw it far away" caster and able to leave it there? Or are you a "fly caster" and just have to keep bringing it back to look at it?
- If you are a fly caster, what is holding you back from truly casting your cares away? Are you afraid God won't deal with your issues, or do you just lack enough trust in His plan?
- Is the waiting beginning to wear on you? Do you think that God should have eased your worries by now? What will it take to bring you to the place where you see God is infinitely good in a way that we just sometimes don't comprehend?
ESV - Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.