Friday, February 18, 2011

Casting My Cares

Have you ever been in a place where you know you need to cast your cares, but the minute you say "I cast my cares on you Lord," those said cares come back and bite you on the hand that cast them?  For me, it has been one of those weeks.  Actually, it has been one of those months thus far.  Throughout the last few months, I've been on an almost spiritual high with God.  Filled with a joyous euphoria, I was intimately in tune with God's presence in my life.  I didn't know exactly where I was going, but I knew it was with God so I trusted completely, knowing it was somewhere good.  Well, January ended and February began.  With this month came the accompaniment of an unwelcome strife in my spirit - not all the time, just enough to be noticeable and disheartening from time to time.  During the preceding months, I had been able to get alone with God without too much noise from the outside world, but as the holidays ended, normal routine resumed and outside noise picked up like the collection of honking cars on a Los Angeles freeway.  God started asking me to put into practice what He taught me while we were alone those last few quiet months.  In doing so, I've won some and lost some, but through both victory and defeat, I'm learning just how much more of Him I need  - and that casting our cares isn't just about saying the words. 
This morning, the things which have been causing strife in my spirit weighed heavily upon my mind.  In response, I begged God to show me how to get rid of it all.  I was familiar with the biblical instruction of casting our cares, but I can't count the number of times in recent weeks that I've said "Okay, God - I cast my cares on You" and as if peacefully casting out a fishing lure, I watched the hook fall into the water, but the fish on the other end came flying from the ripples and bit me on the hand.  Well, this morning after I asked God for what must have been the hundredth time over the preceding few weeks to take my cares from me, I grabbed my bible. Sticking out from inside was the red envelope from one of the cards my husband got me for Valentines Day.  Curious where it was placed, I opened to the page - it was Psalms 55, though God most certainly already knew this.  Though I'm familiar with a number of well-known scriptures, only a handful do I know by heart what they say and the exact place in the Bible from where they come.  In other words, I was familiar with and often used the scripture that reads "cast your cares on the Lord," but I didn't know what book, chapter, or verse in the Bible wrote it - until today. 

After I opened the Bible to where the red envelope invited, I began to read.  As David opens in Psalm 55, he immediately asks God to listen to his prayer and not ignore his plea (much like what I had been doing only minutes before).  "Well, this is fitting," I thought.  Right then, I knew God planned ahead that I notice the red envelope that seemed to be placed randomly within the Bible.  As I reached verse 16, my spirits were lifting even more, but it was when I reached verse 22 that a light came on.  "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."  "Awesome! I always wondered where that verse was within the Bible," I thought with a smile.  At the same time, however, I felt discouraged.  "I've been casting my cares, God, but either they're not going anywhere or You're not taking them when I cast them," I told Him.  I kept reading and at the very end of Psalms 55, the light bulb finally came on.  "But as for me, I trust in You" (v.23).  I grabbed a pink highlighter and marked it, knowing God had just given me the answer to why my casting wasn't working - I was casting my cares but not trusting Him to take them. 

What happened every time I unknowingly quoted Psalms 55:22 was that the strife in my spirit stayed.  "Alright, God I'll say it again - I cast my cares!" I often said in frustration.  I cast but they came back.  I cast, but they stayed.  I cast, but I felt even more strife than before.  I cast and got upset with God for not catching them when I did. "What's wrong with your catching arm, God? I'm casting a perfect straight!" I whined when I felt the strife return.  Ever had this problem?  "Casting your cares on the Lord" isn't just something you say; it's something you do.  Though I knew this in some form, I didn't have a true revelation of it until this morning when God led my eyes to the strategically placed red envelope that uncovered Psalms 55 when I removed it. 

At last, I felt the strife was really gone!  Will a new strife over something different set in?  Yes, at some point I have no doubts that it will but the difference between the last few weeks and when it does is that I'm going to not only say to God that I'm casting my cares - I'm really going to do it by trusting Him to take it.  Walking with God is so much more than saying you're walking with Him and talking about walking with Him; it's about really walking with Him.  It's a journey on which we're constantly learning and growing, but only if we're really allowing God to teach us and shape us.  If you're dealing with strife of some kind in your own spirit, know that simply saying to God that you cast your cares isn't enough; you have to really cast them and that requires complete faith and trust in Him to catch them when you cast.  If you don't know how to do this, which I apparently didn't - then ask Him, trusting that He'll show you.  You can be free from strife and conflict so don't hang on to it - give it to God and trust Him to really take it!

Have a great day everyone!

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