Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Placing Our Cares in God’s Hands

April 13th, 2018

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  (1 Peter 5:6-7 KJV)

What a powerfully worded message this is. Both humility and trust are essential. To only have one without the other will misshape our hearts. One who only humbles himself and never learns to trust or to give his worries to the Lord goes around in a depressed spirit. One who casts all his cares on the Lord but does not humble his heart is haughty and proud. But when embraced together, when we are humble before the Lord and when we cast our worries upon His back, then we have peace and are prepared for whatever God places in our hands.

Breaking down these verses, each word gives insight into the meaning. “Humble” means to bring ourselves low. And the Christian, though he may raise his head high among all men and never think less of himself as a human being when compared to others, lowers himself before God.

This lowering is under the “mighty hand of God.” God is “mighty,” with sovereign power, and there is nothing too difficult for Him. The word “hand” places the exercise of His power in our world in concrete ways. We should never imagine that God is only a spiritual being and that His power is merely metaphysical. God’s hand moves in our lives and in our world in tangible ways. His mighty hand may humble us, as it did Paul, by entrusting to us a thorn in the flesh. Or it could be a difficult and perplexing situation, a task for God that is onerous and difficult, or an individual that we find extraordinarily difficult to work with.

In such situations we are to entrust ourselves to God, and not to quit the circumstance outright. If all people quit when they became fatigued or sick, when things got difficult, and when colleagues proved less than enjoyable to work with, then nothing important would ever get done. If all people quit when they could not see how to go forward, or when they felt unequal to the task, or unsupported in their leadership, then all people would quit all the time. Then it is that the believer must humble himself before the Lord and willingly accept the matters that the Lord has entrusted to him.

The point of humility under God’s hand is not just an exercise in itself, but that God may exalt us in His time. Our own timetable for our exaltation seems to not be in accordance with God’s timetable most of the time. We want exaltation and recognition, as well as support and cooperation, all the time. God, though, holds these things back until the right moment. He rewards the attitude of faith and humility before Him, so He looks for this in our hearts. When we are content to be humble before Him, desiring nothing but His glory, being obedient as Christ was obedient unto death on the cross, then it is that He will exalt us.

We should never begrudge our burdens, for in them God is teaching us that His grace is sufficient for us. And that is the greatest lesson for us to learn in life.

And verse seven says to “cast” our “cares” upon Him – meaning to toss, to let them fly. It means to take our hands off of them and give them to Him. Some things we call burdens are our personal preferences or worldly cares – “the worries of this life” (Mark 4:19) – and not burdens that God has given us. Those we should get rid of, or see them in their proper place. It is spiritual senselessness and simple worldliness to loose sleep and become anxious over a matter that is completely worldly. “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8). We all have such things in our lives, worldly things that we need to attend to, but they should never replace the things of God in our affections.

Our true “cares” are the responsibilities and circumstances that God has entrusted to us. As Paul wrote, using this same word, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28). And these concerns we are to roll on His back, cast our concerns upon His shoulders, and allow Him to carry them.

Is there another way to do this other than prayer? I cannot think of one that does not begin with prayer. We say to God, “Lord, here is my concern – naming the specific circumstance – and I place the care for it into your hands. Guide me daily in the path I should take and in all my decisions.” This does not mean that we glibly walk away from a legitimate responsibility. Apathy is never the answer – these matters are our “cares” that God has given us and God never condemns us for having legitimate cares.

A parent cares for his children and they are never off of his mind, but he should live in the faith that God loves his children more than he does. A responsible leader, likewise, cares for the things that God has entrusted to him, they also are rarely off of his mind, but he must trust that God cares more. He can cast those things upon the Lord, and in so doing experience the peace and life of God, as well as His power and strength.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

We must distinguish between the burden-bearing that is right and the burden-bearing that is wrong. We ought never to bear the burden of sin or of doubt, but there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him. “Cast what He hath given thee upon the Lord” … If we undertake work for God and get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility will be overwhelmingly crushing; but if we roll back on God that which He has put upon us, He takes away the sense of responsibility by bringing in the realization of Himself.

It is the realization of Himself that our souls long for.

Do not despair when the hand of the Lord seems to be dealing with you very harshly, when your legitimate burdens seem overwhelming, and when you even feel alone in your circumstance. Humble yourself before Him – under His hand, or under the specific burden – and hand the matter over to Him in prayer. Trust that He cares even more than you do.



Daily Devotions, Dealing with Difficulties , , , ,

Not to Worry

March 20th, 2017

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. (Psalm 23:1)

I heard a good sermon last night here in Milan, Italy, at the International Church of Milan, by Pastor Jim Albright, on this text.  Rarely does a day go by that would not become brighter if we would just remember this simple truth. He who has all power has promised us that He will care for us, and this simple truth should resolve our tendencies to worry.

Yet, sin being what it is, infectious, deep, troublesome, stubborn, still dampens our spirits. Our problems land on us like rain on a leaky roof, and they seep down, dripping through all the cracks and crevices of our lives, the untended places and unresolved things, to the deepest parts of our souls, pooling and stagnating there. A memory is all it takes to trigger a wave of worry that blocks out the sun in our eyes on any day. Something that happened long ago can conjure up in our minds all manner of doubts and worries.

So we need constantly to keep such verses before us, to put them there and to keep them there. We can never predict when a doubt will surface, when a fear will take our minds off of God’s benevolence and faithfulness.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Warren Wiersbe said: “Most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves: Yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s worries.” Unresolved regrets feed into our worries and both rob us of the joy of the Lord. John Maxwell said: “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

We take responsibility by choosing what to think about – the faithfulness of God or the problems of life. Our minds must always make a priority to meditate on the positive blessings of God. It may seem chic and realistic to complain about life – “misery loves company” the adage goes – but it is far better to be reminded of God’s goodness in the midst of each day than to be obsessed with life’s unpredictable nature.

The soul that sings through its troubles chooses to do so out of its faith in God’s promises, and not simply because it has no sorrow. The Christian sees the hand of God active – forgiving our sins, feeding our souls, strengthening us in the inner most of our lives. Rather than obsessing over the problem we face, we would do better to anticipate the strength of God we will receive through the problem. What new thing will I learn about God’s amazing care for me through this new challenge? That is a question worthy of a Christian’s attention.

The scripture says:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:16-19 NIV)

Psalm 23 ,