In this day of uncertainty, I’ve had conversations with some about uneasiness they feel with what all is going on. Several times while listening, I’ve been reminded of a time I really struggled with anxiety and what I did to help me start getting a handle on fears that wanted to steamroll me. I’d like to tell you that story.
When I was a kid, I was fearful often. Especially at night. When I was around 8 or 9 my dad gave me a pocket knife. I used to sleep with that, blade open, in my hand, to ward off ‘the monster.’ I doubt I ever pulled it out from under my pillow when the monster came in, but holding it in my hand helped ease my anxieties.
Fast forward into my early twenties. I was home from college after being kicked out for trying to kill myself. I don’t remember what all generated these thoughts, but I know the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the need to cast all my cares on my Saviour, Jesus.
Since this seemed a hard thing for me to do I remember the thought coming to me to write my cares down on pieces of paper – one care per paper. I then took a paper sack and fashioned a basket with it which I pinned up to the top corner of the door frame to my closet. It served as a basketball hoop of sorts. I wrote each care on a piece of paper. Offered it up to God. Wadded the paper and threw it into the basket. I did not allow myself to retrieve those papers from that bag. I did occasionally take the bag down and burn it outside, papers and all. And when anxieties that I knew I’d casted on Him tried to resettle in my mind I reminded myself over and over that I had cast them on God and I did not need to carry them.
I think this principle is still effective. If there are anxieties that keep trying to weigh you down, cast them on God over and over again. He understands our human tendency to pick things back up. If you need to physically cast the care, do as I did. Write it down, cast it into a basket or a fire. Do it as often as you need to. Sometimes the physical act helps solidify the mental habit. It did for me.
It is comforting to remember that Jesus is our high priest. He understands our struggles. Let us strive to enter into the rest of Christ, remembering that His Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Remember, none of us are hidden from His sight. So, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 11 – 16).
Remember to stay humble in His watch care, asking Him for wisdom and guidance. He asks us to cast all our anxieties on Him because He does care for each of us who call on Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. We need to be sober-minded, watchful; knowing our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. We need to resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And what joy to know that after we have suffered a little while, God, our loving Abba, our God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5: 6 – 11)
I think in hymns and am so thankful I grew up singing hymns – they are a way to sing my theology. And I close this story encouraging all of us to sing and remember, On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.