Anxiety is my number one nemesis. I don’t consider myself to be a very creative person, but when it comes to worst-case scenarios I turn into Tolkien. As a Christian who works in full-time ministry I’m well versed in throwing a Bible verse at someone when they have an issue, and I do the same to myself. After all it’s God’s inerrant word. However, despite its sufficiency and its inerrancy I’m still a man who struggles to understand and apply what is sufficient and inerrant. Let me offer an example.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
This is simply one of many verses dealing with anxiety/worry in the Bible. But, I want to focus on this one for a minute because it’s a common “cure” for anxiety sufferers. The conversation goes like this:
Person #1: I’m really anxious about … I know God is in control, but I’m still so worried.
Person #2: You just need to cast your anxieties on God because he cares for you. Bam.
It is biblical, and I agree, but what does it even mean to cast anxieties on God? Sometimes we just throw out a verse and have no idea how to practically explain it if someone answers, “Sounds good. How do I do that?”
My point here is not that we should all know exactly what Peter meant when he said “cast your anxieties on God.” But, it is to say make sure we aren’t just giving “biblical” advice to people that is little more than an exercise in scripture recall. I know it’s easy to do because I do it. I need to understand better before offering up a verse or, at a minimum, be honest and state I have no idea what it means and invite them to join with me in better understanding it.
So, I’ve looked up the Greek word for “cast” in this verse, as well as, the Hebrew word found in Psalm 55:22. Both basically mean to throw away or place upon someone/something. How does that practically look for you? How would you explain it to someone else?