The words penned by the Apostle Peter were revolutionary. “God cares for you,” he boldly assured Christians caught up in the midst of persecution sweeping Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey (1 Pet. 5:7).
And because God cared for them, the apostle urged his readers to humble themselves and cast all their anxieties and cares upon God.
The gods of Greece and Rome did not care about people. They cared only about themselves. They were capricious and selfish, caring primarily about their own status.
Even today one searches in vain among the various religions for a message that “God cares for you.” It is not found in the determinism of Islam. It is not found in the Buddhist search for oneness or in Hindu’s escape into nothingness.
Only the Christian faith proclaims, “God cares for you.” As an individual person you have value to God. Peter’s message really was revolutionary. It still is.
In His own image
Perhaps we should know God cares for us. God created each human being in His own image. That gives inestimable value to each individual. The Christian faith is built on the truth that God acted in Jesus Christ to offer salvation to anyone who will accept God’s gift of forgiveness. That is the message of the cross where Jesus paid the price for sin.
Jesus died for each of us. That is how much God cares for us.
Unfortunately, in the midst of troubles we sometimes forget that revolutionary message. The pain of illness, the grief of loss, the brokenness of relationships, the disappointment of life, the shattered dreams — all of these can make us feel alone, forgotten.
One writer correctly observed that “affliction either drives us into the arms of God or it severs us from God.” All of us have seen that truth play out in the lives of friends and loved ones.
That is why it is important to repeat the Apostle Peter’s message. “God cares for you” and because He does you can cast all your anxieties and cares upon Him.
Peter was not the first to voice that message. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described how God feeds the birds who neither plant nor harvest. He described the beauty of the wild lilies saying they were prettier than anything King Solomon ever had, even with all his wealth.
Jesus asked, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26). Could it be clearer? God cares for you. He is not indifferent toward you. He is not cruel.
God is compassionate to His children. God does not promise to resolve every issue as one might want, but He does promise to sustain each of us with His presence through every distress.
The Apostle Peter tied his admonition to cast one’s cares and anxieties on God with a surprising character trait — humility (1 Pet. 5:6). Because we humble ourselves before God we are able to cast our anxieties and worries on the One who cares for us, he writes.
Perhaps that connection should not be surprising at all. The one to whom we entrust our worries is the one we really trust the most.
Jesus taught that same lesson. When Jesus explained the parable of the sower He said some of the seeds that did not take root were because “the worries of the world … enter in and choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
In Luke 21:34, Jesus added, “Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with … the worries of life and that day come on you suddenly like a trap.”
When we trust ourselves with the “worries of the world” then our preoccupation with ourselves chokes out what God wants to do in our lives. When our lives are “weighted down” with the “worries of life” there is no energy left for fruitfulness in God’s work.
One writer observed that worry is a form of pride since it denies the power of a sovereign God and instead places trust in one’s self.
If that is true then the only antidote to worry is believing in and resting in God because “God cares for you” just as the Apostle Peter wrote.
The realization that God cares for us in all our circumstances and difficulties is what assures us that we can cast all our worries and anxieties on Him. Turning worries and anxieties over to God is not done arrogantly like “Here, you take them.” Rather it is because we know that God cares for us that we know He can be trusted with all our cares.
The Apostle Peter said we humble ourselves “under the mighty hand of God.” That is a strong biblical reference to the sufficiency of God to accomplish His purposes. Verses 3, 14 and 16 of Exodus 13 all reference the “mighty hand of God” in delivering the Israelites from captivity. Ezekiel 20:23 uses the reference to bring Judah back from Babylon.
‘Hand of God’
The New Testament uses references to the “hand of God” in directing events around the birth of Jesus and the growth of the Christian faith (see Luke 1:66, Acts 13:11 and Acts 11:21).
The Apostle Peter is assuring those facing persecution that God is able to be trusted with all their worries and anxieties. The God of their past is the God of their present as well as the God of their future. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
That is a message for today as well.
Nowhere is it promised that everything will work out like one wants things to work out. Romans 8:28 does assure that God will work in all things to bring about good. And as He works in all things He will be with us, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20) because “God cares for you.”