"Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:8
Nine years ago, a relative routine surgery developed deadly complications and my husband's life hung by a thread. This unexpected situation brought me face-to-face with the stark reality that I was not in control. I did not plan nor expect this situation, but now it was up to me to choose how I would respond to it.
We all encounter difficult and unexpected circumstances that lead to fear and worry. The last two years have shown how quickly they can occur. It may be COVID or some other health issue, job changes or lay-offs, loss of a loved one, an estranged relationship with our mate or child, an act of violence, or the threat of war coming to our doorstep. The list is endless of the unexpected, unwanted events that enter our lives. Many times, we are not in control of these changes, but we do have a choice as to how we will react or respond to them.
I must admit that often my first response to a negative change is surprise with a flash of fear or dread following close behind. My old nature tends to be pessimistic and wonder what will happen now, or I am flooded with negative thoughts and scenarios. However, I have learned there is a better way to respond.
After my initial response, which usually only lasts a few minutes, my thoughts turn to the Lord. I may not understand what is taking place or the why, but I know the One who is in control. My experience with Him in the past has taught me that He is faithful, and He is with me regardless of what happens.
My circumstances may not change, but when I focus on the Lord and His promises, peace and assurance push fear and dread out of my heart. Our Lord loves us deeply and has promised to take care of us regardless of how things may appear, but it is up to us to believe Him.
In the Gospel of Mark, we read how Jesus got in a boat with His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee. On the way, they encountered a horrific storm. The situation looked bleak, and it seemed their lives were in danger. Jesus had been sleeping and they didn’t understand why he didn’t wake up. In fear and doubt, the disciples woke Him and questioned if He even cared about them.
Sound familiar? How often have we faced seemingly hopeless situations and wondered, Lord, don’t you care?
Jesus calmed the sea and the wind. Then He asked his disciples a heart-piercing question. “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:40 KJV). It seems the Lord implied, of course I care. How could you doubt that?
It is not really the circumstances we face that cause the fear, but like the disciples, it is our lack of faith. We doubt whether Jesus really loves us, that He is ALWAYS with us, or that He is in absolute control of what is going on. We can’t imagine how the hard and painful events can work for good, even though Jesus said they would (Romans 8:28).
The key to calming our fears and worry is not in our circumstances changing but in what we choose to believe. We can continue to focus on what is happening and our helplessness, or we can choose to believe our Lord and to rest in His divine care. It is a matter of making a deliberate choice with our will to take God at His word, and them to depend on the Holy Spirit to help us discipline our thoughts.
Experience has taught me that this key works. It was the only way I had peace through the three months my husband was in the hospital, It is the only way I have had peace through the many trials and difficulties since, and it will work for you.
“Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:” (Psalm 55:22 KJV).