Each evening, I offer a short devotion to the men under my care in the dorm. This is the spot where I share them with you, and keep a record of them for myself on the off chance I ever need them again.
Anxieties are to be cast, not carried.
We are, by nature, an obsessive people. We either obsess over yesterday (we call this guilt), or we obsess about tomorrow (we call this anxiety). God does not desire this for us… it is the Enemy that wants us to live this way. He is “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Satan wants us bound in frustration, shame, and despair. But God can be quite obsessive too: He’s obsessed with showing us his relentless love and compassion. Perhaps that’s why St. Peter invites us to “cast our care upon Him [God], for he cares for us,” almost in the same breath that he warns us about Satan wanting to eat us alive (1 Peter 5:7).
You see to the same extent that we obsess over the past or future, and to the same extent that the Enemy wants us to drown in despair–no, even more than all that–God desires to show us grace. He longs to bear our burdens–indeed, he has borne our burdens; He took the full weight of human shame, suffering, and evil upon himself at the cross, then He dragged it down to the grave and left it there. Now he invites each of us to live as those who are free from our burdens, to cast our cares upon Him, rather than trying to carry them ourselves. St. John Cassian suggests a simple way of doing this. When we don’t know what to pray, or when we are too burdened or weary to know how, he suggests we take the first line of Psalm 70 and pray it over and over until we find we are at peace.
“Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
Make haste to help me, O Lord!”
Give it a try tonight, if you find you cannot shut off your mind. Or tomorrow, if you find you have no peace… Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you; anxieties are to be cast, not carried.