Faith In An Hour Of Anxiety
By D. M. Panton (1870 – 1955)
“Casting all your anxiety upon Him, for He careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
We need to ponder for a moment exactly what it is we are to cast upon God. There is a carefulness, a prudent devotion to duty, which God has cast on us. For example, Paul says: “...Be careful to maintain good works...” (Titus 3:8). As Spurgeon has put it: “There is the care to love and serve Him better; the care to understand His Word; the care to preach it; the care to experience His fellowship; the care to walk with God.”
But the word “care” here in the Greek is totally different. It means fretful apprehension, a troubled and distracted mind. The Revised Version translates it “anxiety” – cares grown to cancers.
The French version is, “Unload your care upon God.” We have seen a coal cart unload. The man removes a little iron pin, and the cart is so balanced on its axles that, with a slight pressure on the back of the cart, it tips up and the whole load slides onto the ground. So are we to discharge our black anxieties upon God.
We are to cast nothing less than all our care upon God – not some cares, or only great cares, but all cares. Many of our anxieties are personal to ourselves. Some relate to others. One very important group concerns our own future spiritually. It may be broken health, impoverished circumstances, business anxieties, our children’s future in a darkening world, our boys away at the battle front, our stand under present persecution or anticipated coming persecution.
We are not to cast away our cares, as the worldling does, drowning them in dissipation and sin, but cast them on God, in an immense act of glorious faith.
Somebody must carry these cares. Myself they can only crush and kill, whereas, if God has lifted off us our greatest load, the weight of sin – which was laid on Christ on the Cross – is there any load He cannot lift off us?
Dr. F. B. Meyer puts it beautifully thus: “He can smite rocks, and open seas, and unlock the treasuries of the air, and ransack the stores of the earth. Birds will bring meat, and fish, coins, if He bids them. He takes up the isles as a very little thing; how easily, then, your heaviest load.”
So now comes the tremendous command. Its extraordinary force comes out if we simply use another word: “Throwing all your anxiety upon God.” The anxious believer, convinced of his Heavenly Father’s all-power, all-wisdom, and all-love, decides to leave all that gives him concern and therefore all that makes him anxious – in the merciful hands that are shaping his whole destiny. We are to forbid ourselves anxiety by discharging ourselves on His love.
“...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
The Apostle Paul, in a strikingly parallel passage, tells us exactly how we are to cast. “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard, garrison) your hearts and your minds” – in which are our anxieties – “through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Prayer tells God what the care is, and faith gets up, carefree, and walks away leaving the care on God. So Hezekiah took the threatening letter from Sennacherib and spread it before God in the Temple, and left the Temple in peace. As an old commentator sums up Paul’s word: “Be careful for nothing; be prayerful for everything; be thankful for anything.”
The apostle adduces one powerful argument, and one alone, to convince us of our happy duty. “For He careth.” If God cares for us, it is manifest that, committed to Him, our anxieties are in the best and safest hands, and infinitely safer than they can ever be in our own. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He” – not is anxious, for God cannot be anxious, but – “careth”; supervises and fosters, in loving interest.
In the crisis of the Reformation, Luther would say to Melanchthon: “Let us sing the 46th Psalm, and let them do their worst! ‘God is our refuge and strength...therefore will we not fear...though the mountains be carried into the heart of the seas’” (vv. 1-2).
Our faith is being plunged in fire; and, like the goldsmith, God’s care is for the gold, not for the fire.
God Cares for You Personally
Moreover, the argument to prompt us to lay our burdens on God is intensely personal. “For He careth for you.” Our Lord uses the same argument: “...Take no thought (be not anxious) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matt. 6:25, 32). Christ says it as much to you and to me as He said it to any saint of all time: because God cares for me, He will unload me of my anxiety.
How exquisitely God’s individual care is revealed! “I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine” (Psa. 50:11). “The young lions...seek their meat from God” (Psa. 104:21). “Not one [sparrow] shall fall on the ground without your Father...fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29, 31). “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee…” (Psa. 55:22).