The Cost of Casting
Stress can make us do crazy things. And doing crazy things can cause us even more stress, which, in turn, causes us to do more crazy things. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
If we would only live our lives within the parameters drawn by the Bible, the amount of stress we experience on a daily basis would not be eliminated, but it would be significantly reduced. Dramatically. Immediately. Reduced.
But what do we do with the stress that remains? There will always be some stress, right? You've got to live indoors, and your house may or may not maintain its value. You've got to work and live and deal with people -- and some of those people are going to be difficult people. You can't just wish them away to the cornfield. Your spouse won't always meet your expectations, and your kids won't always do what you want them to do. That all will cause you some stress, and that stress won't just go away when you decide to bring your life in line with what God wants.
So, what do you do?
Well, the Bible does give us hope. In 1 Peter 5:7, we read this: "Cast all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you."
(1) The word for "you" is singular. It's not saying that God cares for all of you; God cares for you individually. He cares for you and for me and for the guy next door -- he cares about each of us.
(2) The word for "anxiety" is always used in the New Testament to refer to the unavoidable cares of life. So, we're on the right track with this verse. This is going to help us deal with the stress in our lives -- not by reducing stress but by managing it!
(3) The word for "cast" is actually a participle (should probably be translated "casting") that is linked to the verb translated "humble yourself" in the previous verse. Now, there are a couple of ways this could work. One popular way of translating this is to say that "casting" is how you "humble yourself". But -- this is a little complicated but it's worth it to stick with me -- the word "humble yourself" is always in the New Testament linked to the concept of obedience (see Philippians 2:8).
So, if "humble yourself" means "obey God", how is "casting" related? Well, it appears that once you've done the first one, you're allowed to do the second one. In other words, you can only "cast" after you "humble/obey".
Now, I'll be the first to admit: I do not like this. I want to cast first. I don't want there to be any sort of prerequisite for casting. I want God to just take it all, so I don't have to do anything.
But that's not how God set it up. If I start by casting, God gently comes alongside and asks me, "Have you brought your life within the parameters I've drawn for you? If not, go do that first, then come back and we can talk about this other stuff."
Humility and obedience -- that's the cost of casting.