by Santosh Poonen
“… casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” – I Peter 5:7
As I read these well-known words again today, I couldn’t get away from the word, “casting.” I thought of it in the context of casting a line or casting a net for fishing. And then my mind immediately went to the story in John 21 of the seven disciples who spent all night quite literally “fishing in the dark”. At daybreak, Jesus showed up and, knowing that they hadn’t caught any fish, said, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch.” Now, I can’t imagine that expert fishermen like Peter and James and John would have spent all night with their nets only on the left-hand side of the boat. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, they obeyed Jesus’ words! And the rest, as they say, is history – their catch was so large that they weren’t able to haul it in.
The call to cast all our anxiety upon God seems to come alive when viewed against the backdrop of this story. Most anxiety comes from some form of disappointment, and we all have carried around our empty “nets” of anxiety at some point or another in our lives, like heavy burdens of unfulfilled hope. You can almost hear the sad resignation in Peter’s voice as he tells his fellow disciples, “I am going fishing” (John 21:3). Here was a fearful, disillusioned bunch who felt like failures because they had deserted Christ. And Peter, being the most vociferous in his claim to stand with Jesus, probably felt the pain of disappointment most strongly.
When we allow anxieties to weigh heavily on our minds, the result is bad moods, unbelief, discouragement, and depression. Our worries will even keep us up all night, like the disciples. Then, we try to cast our nets of anxiety elsewhere in the ocean. Since misery loves company, we’ll look for others around us on whom to cast our anxieties, hoping to get some sympathy or pity from them. And when people fail to meet our needs, we’ll look for relief in sinful pleasures which soon lead to addiction. This is a dangerous slippery slide.
Then, amid the faint light of daybreak comes the Savior’s still, small voice, “Cast all your anxiety upon Me, because I care for you.” If you heed His call, the result will be no different than it was for the disciples – a catch greater than you can imagine, and breakfast with Jesus Himself (John 21:12)! So, here’s how you can know that you have obeyed Christ’s call to cast your net of anxiety on His side (Galatians 5:22-23): He will fill your heart to overflowing with love for those whom you think have caused your anxiety; you will be so full of joy that people around you won’t be able to guess what you’re going through; you will have such mind-blowing peace (Philippians 4:7) that you’ll sleep calmly at night even in the midst of the storm; you will wait patiently for God to resolve your situation; you will be kind and good to those around you despite your inner pain; your life will be full of faith in the almighty God; there will be a gentleness about your spirit as you walk through your trial; and instead of chaos, your life will be characterized by self-control.
If the life I’ve described above sounds difficult, it’s not. It’s impossible! That’s why you’ll need to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and for that you need to be humble. It took a sense of “being at the end of their rope” for the disciples to obey Christ in the story. And it will take the same humility for you to cast your care on Him. The context in I Peter 5:6-7 makes this clear: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God… casting all your anxiety on Him.” If you do obey His call, however, you will experience His unwavering promise: “He will exalt you at the proper time.”
Where you’ve only had empty nets of anxiety, God promises a boatload of the fruit of His Spirit!
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