Encouragement for Today 16 March 2022

TOPIC:  Exhale

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

The new day had barely begun, but already its concerns burdened me: a dear friend fighting cancer, a relative battling mental health issues, family tensions over COVID-19, work deadlines and more.

Overwhelmed. Crushed by circumstances beyond my control. Anxious over questions for which I lacked answers. That’s how I felt.

I suspect you can relate. Your concerns may or may not match mine, but you “get” the weight because you’ve carried yours, too. We all do it, and often to our own detriment. We lose sleep, worrying about those we love. We lose our focus, fearing the worst about financial difficulties. We lose our peace, drawing hypothetical conclusions from what-if thoughts.

Jesus never intended our concerns to dominate our thinking because He understands their negative impact on our well-being. That’s why He says, through a letter written by the Apostle Peter, to cast our anxieties on Him:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

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In this verse, “cast” means to hurl or heave with force. It doesn’t suggest we gingerly place one problem on Jesus’ shoulders to see how He resolves it before entrusting Him with another. Neither does it imply we give Him our concerns only to retrieve them a short while later. Casting our cares means throwing them onto Jesus with force because we’re done dealing with them and have no intention of taking them back.

Jesus’ shoulders are bigger than ours, and His strength is greater. He can handle those situations too complex for us. He can bear the burdens too heavy for us. Every single one of them.

Sometimes we forget the little word “all” in 1 Peter 5:7. We give some concerns to Jesus, but we hesitate to surrender others. But here’s the thing: Our concerns can’t wield control over us when we yield control to Jesus. Let’s surrender all our anxieties, no matter what caused them, and trust Him for the best outcome.

That morning amidst my anxious thoughts, I sensed the Lord whisper, Take a deep breath, and then exhale your anxiety about your friend with cancer. Trust Me. I’ve got this. I did what He said, and my soul felt a little lighter.

He spoke again: Exhale concern about your relative with mental health issues. And again: Now exhale concern about all things COVID-19-related.

The Holy Spirit led me through that morning’s list, and then He brought several more concerns to mind — burdens I hadn’t even realized I was bearing until I felt the load lighten. One by one, I cast all my concerns onto Jesus, grateful for His willingness to carry them for me.

What concerns are you carrying today, my sweet friend? Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Repeat. Do this little exercise as often as needed. Give those concerns to Jesus because He cares for you.

Heavenly Father, thank You for offering to carry our concerns. When we’re worried or afraid, please remind us You are completely trustworthy. Help us yield control to You so our concerns cannot control us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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