By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: 1 Peter 4-5
Key Scripture Verse: 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
This key scripture verse is one of my favorites, because even though the gospel says throughout it that Jesus loves me, somehow with the Apostle Peter’s writing that Jesus “cares” for me, I hear it and understand it more clearly and feel it deeply. That I can give all of my worries and cares to Jesus and that he cares about them and wants to be my advocate and my comforter means a lot to me. Jesus, the “Son of Man” who lived in the flesh and felt the same things I feel but who is also God himself loves me, cares about the concerns I have, and wants to take those burdens on for me—that makes me feel truly loved and cared for.
This verse is found among many verses in a section about suffering. No one wants to suffer, but it is a part of human life and the scriptures point out that because Jesus came in human form, he also suffered as a human, and he understands what it is like to be a human in pain.
Unfortunately, we will have some level of suffering that we will encounter in this life. Peter urges us to give those worries to God. He tells us to “be alert and of sober mind,” because we live on enemy territory—Satan is quick to look for those of us who are vulnerable, just like “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” When we are suffering, we may be quick to forget how Jesus himself suffered, we may be quick to forget his love, and we may be quick to stop going to church, praying, or worshiping him.
Christ does not want us to suffer, but he may allow it for us to grow in faith. He wants to be there to help us through it and for us to lean on him, so that he can support us through the pain and suffering.
People are suffering in the world today. Just this week people suffered at the hand of extremists who attacked innocent people in Paris. People suffered real pain and died. Some who were attacked but survived continue to suffer. And their families and friends will suffer emotionally for some time yet to come.
Others suffer with physical or emotional pain because of illness or mental health disorders. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, suffers with us when we are suffering.
But, Peter reminds us of the good news that Jesus Christ is the “God of all grace” and that although Satan puts us through trials and suffering while we are in this earthly domain, Jesus himself will see to it that we are restored. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make your strong, firm and steadfast.”
We who believe in Jesus Christ and follow him will live in eternity with him because of his grace and love, because he cares for us. And when we are brought to his heavenly kingdom, there we will experience no more crying and weeping, no more pain and suffering. So, we are to bear our pain here and now with his support, casting our anxieties upon him, leaning on him to help us face whatever we must face in this life—our rewards await us in heaven. For a short while on earth we may suffer, but for the rest of eternity we will suffer no more.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Amen.