1 Peter 5:7 (KJV) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I have recently begun reading Joyce Meyer’s book Unshakeable Faith. In the very first chapter Joyce likens worrying to wearing a backpack filled with rocks and carrying it around all day. Upon reflection, I realized I have been carrying a backpack of worries of my own lately. Not only have I been wearing it during the day, but I have been sleeping with it on at night as well. How uncomfortable!
I love looking up definitions in the dictionary. Often, while I may have a general understanding of a particular word, reading the actual definition gives me much more clarity about its meaning. I would like to share the definitions of two words in The American College Dictionary with you.
Worry: 1. to feel uneasy or anxious; fret; torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts
Cast: 1. to throw; fling; hurl 2.to throw off or away
Anxious, fretting, tormented, disturbed thoughts? Pretty powerful. Things I most certainly do not want any part of! Yet somehow I have allowed myself to collect a few stones of worry without even realizing what I was doing. Instead of forfeiting them immediately to Jesus, The One who invites us to cast, (throw, fling and hurl), our cares upon Him, I have been carrying them on my own.
As I was reflecting on my condition while gathering rocks in the barnyard for our photo, I found the variety of sizes and shapes to be quite interesting. The largest stone with the others stacked against it was quite heavy. It alone would nearly fill my entire pack. I imagined it as an underlying fear about things that are out of our control. It might include worry about finances, or health, or a broken relationship. Maybe the fear of rejection, or failure, or pain. It might represent worry about the safety of a child, or our country, or of losing a job. Any number of things that can feel overwhelming and impossible for a person to fix. Given its weight, such a rock would be difficult to pick up and cast away without considerable effort, or the help of someone else.
The medium sized stones were not as weighty or cumbersome as the large one, and were much easier to put into place. While the definition of small, medium and large stones will vary from person to person, I began thinking about what the medium stones might be. Perhaps a work or school assignment that needs to be completed. A speaking engagement that is coming up; followed by more! You need your car to get to work and it is making a funny noise. You don’t know how you will fix it if it breaks. Things that are looming, that may or may not happen, yet they stay in the back of our minds.
As I continued working, I envisioned just one of these rocks inside my pack. Although it would not be as heavy as the large stone, I knew that it would bang against my back as I moved about. My freedom would be inhibited as the straps of the pack slid about my shoulders. Add more of the medium sized rocks, and their combined weight would become hard to carry. In addition, the presence of the pack would prevent me from being able to move about freely. I would be encumbered by its presence.
Lastly, as I gathered the smaller stones, the story of The Princess and the Pea came to my mind. In this childhood tale written by Hans Christian Anderson, a tiny pea under 20 mattresses topped with 20 elder down beds bothered a Princess because of her royal lineage. Sleeping on that tiny pea for just one night caused her body to be black and blue and bruised. When asked how she had slept in the night, she said she had slept horribly, because there was something hard in her bed. The surprising effects of that one tiny pea became proof of her royal lineage.
We too are royalty. As sons and daughters of The Most High King, we are not meant to pack our cares on our own. Not a care that seems the size of a boulder, or even one so small as that of a tiny pea. We are meant to recognize them, pick them up, and fling them away from ourselves and unto the feet of The Lord Jesus. We are meant to be free.
The story also reminded me that I haven’t been sleeping well lately myself. When I wake up in the morning, I can tell I have been grinding my teeth. I am not rested as one is supposed to be at the beginning of a new day. So tonight, as I lay down to sleep, I plan to take off my backpack, open it up, and take a look inside instead of mindlessly wearing it to bed. I am going to remove the rocks of worry that are within, and take Jesus up on his invitation. I am, with His help, going hurl them away from me, being careful in the morning not to grab up my pack, rush back to the stones, and stuff my cares back inside. Nor will I allow anyone else to do that for me.
Lord, we thank You that we can trust You with our cares. Help us to bring them, each one, no matter the size, to You. There is nothing in our lives that is too big or heavy for You. There is nothing in our lives that is too small for You to care about. May we cast our worry upon You. Then may we leave them there.
In Jesus’ Name Amen.