There’s this song I love right now called “You Have My Surrender” by Lauren Daigle. There is a part where she repeats, “I cast my cares on you”, and it made me want to look more into the meaning behind that phrase. I found an old sermon by John Piper that talks about this idea and I thought it was so interesting. This idea of casting our cares upon the Lord is found in several places throughout the bible but let’s look at the scripture in 1 Peter 5:5-7:
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.”
It’s interesting that humbling ourselves includes this idea of casting our cares or anxieties on God. Piper points out, “somehow the command for humility makes the command to cast our anxiety on God more urgent, more needed…There is something about humbling yourself under God’s hand and humbling yourself before other people that makes casting all your anxiety on God necessary. Or to say it another way, there is something about casting your anxiety on God that makes humbling ourselves under God and before others possible.”
Why would humility create anxiety? What comes to mind when you think of humility? What does it mean to be humble? In his sermon Piper said, humility means admitting when you’ve made a mistake and saying you’re sorry and not being too proud to ask for help when you are too weak, sick, or inadequate to complete a task. Sometimes, it’s doing jobs and spending time with people with no thoughts of what you have to gain or needing to be recognized.
“In other words, in all its forms humility is the risk of losing face…Lowliness (humility) runs the obvious risk of being looked down upon.”
Losing face is never fun, and many of us have a need to feel special and successful or noticed and appreciated. We look for that need to be fulfilled outside of God. That is why humbling ourselves before God and each other causes anxiety, and why God commands us to cast our anxiety on him when we humble ourselves.
In the scripture, the command to cast our anxiety on him is followed by a promise that he cares for us. So we know that we can trust him. Not just in a general sense of he will work it out for my good, but also specifically. God cares about my specific anxiety and is trustworthy to place it in his care. He will carry my burdens, he will sustain me, and he will carry me. (Matt 11:28, Is 46:4, Ps 55:22)
This is something that sets apart the one true God from other gods. Other gods want you to work for them. Ultimately Christ did the work on the cross and we do not work to earn our place with him.
In Isaiah 46:1-4 we read about other gods/idols and the text says in verse 1 “these things you carry”, but in verse 4 we see the contrast of how God says HE will carry and will save.
Knowing that he cares and that he works for us, makes living out our faith a little easier. We can clothe ourselves in humility, leaving behind the approval of the world, because God carries any anxiety we may face when we live life His way. We know that God has called us to humility and to put others before ourselves and to walk in the spirit not in the flesh. In doing this we will have anxiety because God’s ways are not our ways. We want recognition and acceptance from people. We like to be in control and placing ourselves under God can feel like we’re out of control. Sometimes God asks us to do something that we may not understand, or that those around us don’t understand. However, God says he will carry that anxiety for us.
The picture is similar to having a horse carry your load. The animal carries the weight and does the work. We hand our cares over to God through prayer with faith that he can and will carry our load. We can trust him because he cares for us. He is safe and we can cast our cares on him.
So, whatever makes you worry, whatever your cares or anxieties are, bring them to the one who loves you in prayer and make them known to him and he will give you peace and guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6). This frees us to live a life like Christ in humility.
— Jamie Reed
If you want to listen to or read the Piper sermon, you can do so here: