“Cast all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Let me begin by saying that if none of the following grammar lesson connects with you, then you are perfectly fine, a good Christian, and 1 Peter 5:7 will be eternally accessible and meaningful. The verse stands nicely on its own. When you are anxious, God assures you that He will take to Himself your fears because of His great love for you. You can stop right here and be encouraged!
However, I have been thinking for a few days about the significance of the verb translated as “cast upon.” It means simply to throw, and has a preposition as a prefix which tends to intensify the action in Greek. The meaning of the word directs us to aggressively throw away our cares to God, implying that we are really not sufficient to take care of them on our own
Now comes the challenging part. The verb tense is aorist (pronounced erist). The word aorist means without limit or undefined. If you look carefully at the word you see the alpha privative (a – meaning without) and the root (oris) from which we get the English word horizon. Literally the word describes a kind of action that is without a horizon, therefore, without limit or undefined. This is a very difficult syntactical point to understand, but the aorist tense does not have a time relationship (except in the indicative . . . don’t worry about it). It means an action simply occurs.
How does this grammar apply to this beautiful verse? Casting your cares upon God, is not simply an action that you perform each day. Casting your cares upon God is an expression of your union with God through Christ. Because of God’s closeness and deep love, He shares with you the cares of your world. He knows and takes upon Himself those cares as you let go of them to Him.
What practical use is this brief grammatical lesson? First, we must accept the fact that we are not sufficient to take care of our trouble, and God does not expect us to. We are not meant to live alone, and we are certainly not meant to live in our own strength. God wants to indwell us. Our problems are not impediments, they are simply opportunities for God to show His strength through our weakness.
Second, a prayer for God to give us strength to handle any problems we face must be a regular part of our communion with Him. He is not bothered by our pleas, in fact He delights in our dependence on Him. And God’s help in our lives becomes a testimony to others of His power and love. Trying to handle your own problems is simply a dangerous exercise in pride.
So let God swirl and intermingle in your life, helping you to handle the good and the bad. He authors our joys and shares in our sufferings. As for the cares, leave them with God, and consciously refuse to pick them up again. This is a hard discipline, but one we can develop with practice. Christ shares in our suffering just as we share in His. So casting your cares upon Him is more than just a part of your morning prayers. It is a part of the deeply mysterious and moving relationship you have with God who cares for you.
Dr. Terry Ellis
June 22, 2014