By Joy Willis
It seems to be second nature for us to worry. We worry about grades, money, our families, our health. There is an endless supply of circumstances we could worry about. Our Creator knows this about us, and that is why throughout scripture He reminds us that we don’t have to worry. This reminder often comes in the form of a command: give your cares to God.
Psalm 55:22 says it like this: “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” In the New Testament we are told in very similar words: Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7).
Not only does He tell us, but God, in the form of Jesus, demonstrates this principle, at least twice, to his disciples. In the Gospels, we read about two different storms the disciples found themselves in (Mark 4; Matthew 14). Both times, Jesus told His disciples—many of whom were fisherman and thus, sailors, by profession—to go into the boat and cross the sea (Mark 4:35; Matthew 14:22). On both occasions a storm arose in the sea with strong wind and mighty waves. The storms were both so great that these experienced seamen were terrified.
During one of the storms, Jesus was on the boat with them, sleeping peacefully through the storm as water began to fill the boat. The disciples woke him up in a panic. Jesus got up and told the wind and the waves to “be still,” and immediately the storm stopped and peaceful seas returned.
Jesus can speak peace into our storms, too. He can change our circumstances, provide miraculously for our needs, soften hard hearts, heal when doctors and medicines cannot. Our all powerful, loving God can, and sometimes does, speak peace into our storms.
The story of the other storm the disciples found themselves in is recorded in Matthew 14. This storm was just as violent as the other but this time, Jesus was not in the boat with them. Knowing their needs, Jesus walked on the water towards the boat in the middle of the storm. He said, “Don’t be afraid! Take courage. I am here!” When his disciples needed peace, the Prince of Peace came to them in the middle of the storm.
And then, as if walking on water wasn’t enough, Peter asked Jesus if he too could walk on the waves. Jesus told him to come. Peter stepped out of the boat onto the waves, during the storm, and walked on the water to Jesus. Peter did well at first, confident in the ability of Jesus to keep him on top of the waves, but when he looked around and remembered how big the storm was, he began to sink.
How often do we do this? Jesus meets us in our time of great need bringing His very presence to the situation and we still are so distracted by our circumstances that it is hard to trust him. We still feel rocked by the wind and the waves of our situation.
The unpaid bills.
They overwhelm us.
So what do we do? Just like Peter, we cry out to Jesus, “Save me Lord.” In the story, when Peter said those words, Jesus reached out and grabbed him, and Peter was saved. Remember the words of Psalm 55? “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Timothy Keller says it like this in his book, The Songs of Jesus: “You must ‘cast your cares’ on the Lord. The result is not that God takes all troubles away but that he sustains you, gives you strength to handle the them.”
When we are in a storm, our preference is usually for the storm to end; for God, in His love and power, to miraculously heal, provide and end the storm. But often times, the storm continues, but He is with us through the storm. He allows us to walk confidently with Him on the waves. And, maybe what, personally, brings me the most comfort, is the fact that He will not allow the godly to slip and fall. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, when we cry out to Him, the waves will not overtake us, and the situation will not overwhelm us.
My prayer for you this week is that you will, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).