Cast all your anxiety on God, who cares for you.
At first blush, Peter’s advice seems as deep as coffee mug wisdom.
Then, when we take a closer look, a little more shows up. The Greek verb behind cast, for instance: besides being used here, its only other NT appearance comes in Luke 19:35, where people are throwing cloaks on the back of a donkey Jesus will ride. Throwing cloaks? Not much planning, reasoning, agonizing required for that.
All implies the whole enchilada.
Cares assumes knowledge. That is, Peter either repeats what others keep saying (passing on conventional wisdom), or he reports from personal experience. But either way’s a winner when it comes to God’s connection with people.
So there’s more to the words here than meets the eye, especially as we consider their source.
It’s Saturday. Yesterday, the cross–seen more from a distance than up close–loomed over all. The cross, where a friend abandoned not long ago died.
These are anxious times. How to process the data, deal with the circumstances, get through what’s going on?
My God, my God: why have You forsaken Me? That’s what the friend on the cross–Jesus–said as He hung there. An indication that what He was going through was out past God’s caring? Maybe (though the implications of such a conclusion are sobering, to say the least), but again, the words lead us into deep water. In this case, Jesus is quoting part of a longer Psalm (22) that finishes on a note of triumph. Read with that in mind, Jesus was not bowing beneath the weight of circumstances that seemed heavy enough to crush Him. Rather, He was affirming a conviction that God cares, and does not abandon.
We know that Peter was full of remorse; it’s likely that on Saturday he’s with others who are trying to make sense of what has happened. Did someone bring a report of Jesus’ words from the cross? Did someone look up Psalm 22? Did the penny drop?
Interesting, that later, when Peter brings up the matter of anxiety and insists on casting care, he also dips into a Psalm (Psalm 55, verse 22). Interesting, how reading that entire Psalm leads one to the conclusion that God is aware, focused, present even when the situation seems desperate.
Peter’s biography suggests that he understood anxiety, that he got how anxiety threatens to drive a wedge between a person and God. He’d been there: he’d felt his heart pound, seen the wave cresting and about to crash.
As he writes years later, with the benefit of hindsight and further experience, he knows too about the bread crumbs left on the trail by previous travelers, about the rich veins running deep that still yield treasure. He remembers how Friday’s sorrow and exhaustion and shame was muffled by Saturday, and then pushed aside completely by Sunday’s news.
He remembers running.