“Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
My biggest struggle has always been refusing to give up my desire for control. My pride tells me to try it first on my own. As I began to embrace what God’s Word says about anxiety and worry, I realized that I needed God all the time, not just when everything was going well.
One memory of my childhood comes to mind to illustrate casting my cares upon God. That story, coincidently, is about fishing, and casting my line out beyond the boat.
Fishermen and Casting
My dad was a fisherman. It did not matter where he was or what he caught, he just loved to fish, especially deep-sea fishing on a boat bouncing around the Pacific Ocean for hours at a time. When I was about 10 years old, he started taking me with him. What I remember most about those trips was the bouncy ride out to the perfect spot and how difficult it was for me to cast my line out as far away from the boat as possible. I struggled with what was a very simple task, releasing the brake on the reel to let the line fly out as far as it could go and then setting the brake to stop the line.
Reflecting back, I now understand that it was not that I was uncoordinated, it was my stubbornness, fear of failure, and pride that stopped me from releasing the brake lever. I was afraid that if I let go of the brake too soon, the line would backlash and someone would have to come and untangle the yards and yards of line, or, if I was successful and caught a fish, the reeling in process would be too hard for me, and I would have to depend on someone else to help me. I refused to be dependent on anyone but myself. What usually happened was that I would just drop my line over the side of the boat and wait for the fish to come to me. Dropping the line in that manner was easy, and I got my way. Yet I missed out on the thrill of catching a bigger fish because of my unwillingness to accept help. My pride got in the way.
Casting or Dropping
Casting my cares on God is much like going fishing. I can cast out beyond the boat and benefit from the bounty the ocean offers or drop my line over and be content with smaller fish. Casting out of my comfort zone takes a willingness to trust and to let go of my fears, worries, and control. While dropping my line over the side of the boat allows me to be in charge, it also prevents me from developing my fishing skills. The choice seems so easy, but my pride keeps me from trusting Father God to show me how to cast.
The Brake of Pride
Pride is like the brake on the fishing reel that releases and stops the line. Pride prevents trust. Pride, as defined biblically is, “to hold oneself above others”.1Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, Tennessee, 1997), 569.
What does God’s Word inform us regarding pride and its dangers? Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). We deceive ourselves if we think we are better than others (Galatians 6:3). Additionally, a boastful heart is sin (Proverbs 21:4). Certainly, none of these verses would indicate that being proud is an attribute for which to strive. Pride is sin because it penetrates our heart and keeps us from trusting God.
Be Humble and Let Go of the Brake
When you cast, if you let go of the brake, the line will soar, landing away from the boat. Letting go of the brake requires humility and trusting Father God to know what He is doing. Humility, the opposite of pride, is defined biblically as, “lowliness of mind”.2Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, Tennessee, 1997), 882. The ultimate example of humbleness can be seen in the life of Christ who considered Himself not equal to God (Philippians 2:6) and humbled Himself even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8).
What else does God’s Word say about humility? God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up (James 4:10). With humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). He guides the humble to what is right and teaches them His way (Psalm 25:9).
I can trust God when I humbly let go of the brake. With humility, I can be wise with wisdom from God, learn what is right, and be taught in His ways. Humility keeps me dependent on God and God alone.
Let Go of the Brake and Trust God
As a believer, letting go of the brake is an act of trusting God. The action needed to successfully cast my line is to simply let go, be humble and trust God with everything. I love the way Jerry Bridges uses the word “vigorous” to describe the action that I must take when I trust God.3Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, (NAVPRESS,1988), 202. The action of trusting takes energy, patience, and endurance, while the non-action, of passivity, is like me refusing to ask for help to cast or untangle my line. How foolish! My passivity made the trip miserable and the consequences were eventually, no more fishing trips. The same is true of trusting God. We can either sinfully stand around and wait, complain out loud or in our thoughts that God is not hearing our prayers, and suffer the consequences of lack of trust. Alternatively, we can vigorously let go of the brake, by confessing our sin and trust God to take care of all our needs.
Trust God and Cast Away from the Boat
We all need to be reminded of this powerful truth; humbly trust in the Lord and cast your cares on Him. His yoke is easy and His burdens are light (Matthew 11:30). He promises to sustain us, and never let us be moved (Psalm 55:22).
- Memorize Philippians 4:6-7 and use it as a prayer, asking God for His peace as you bring your worries to Him.
- Some counselees learn best from images, like the casting example. Give them the freedom to develop their own imagery of casting cares.
- Have your counselee do their own Biblical study on the words trust/trusting and write their own definition of trust based on that study.
4. Ask them to journal about what is the “brake” (sin) that keeps them dependent on themselves instead of God.