Today’s reading was 1 Peter 5:7-11
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
If I remember correctly, the original Greek meaning of “cast” in that first verse has the sense of “heave” or “throw off.” It’s almost as if the anxiety is sticky and we need to take definite steps to throw it off ourselves. In our natural state we will allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by anxiety. The antidote to this is recognizing the depth of God’s care for us, whatever the circumstances we are currently facing.
For the next verse, the metaphor that I think of when I read it is a soldier standing guard knowing that vigilance is required to prevent the enemy from invading. We are aware, we are alert, but we are not paranoid. We do not need to see a demon behind every doorknob. If we struggle to get up in the morning, we do not need to attribute this to a blanket demon.
Yet I think often in the Christian life our more common error is to discount the spiritual dimensions of life altogether. It’s quite easy to go through our day as virtual atheists disregarding the influence that spiritual forces, both good and evil, may have on us.
The enemy is like a lion, looking for someone to devour and his favorite food is isolated Christians. Just as animals in the wild look for prey that is injured or has become separated from the rest of the herd, the Christian who is struggling and who has separated himself or herself from the family of faith is easy prey. In those times when we want to withdraw and hide because of the depth of pain in our lives, it is precisely at that time that we most need others. Our pride may militate against asking for help, but the body of Christ is designed in such a way that when one hurts, all hurt. We do not have to stand alone, and we were not designed to.
When the devil tries to get hold of us, our role is to resist him standing firm in the faith. This faith recognizes the truth that God cares for us, even if we don’t feel like it at the moment, and also recognizes that our suffering is not unique, and others will actually be able to identify with our pain and empathize.
Verse 10 encourages us that this is not the end of the story, that God himself will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast.
Whatever you’re going through today, know that God cares for you and that he has given you a family of faith to stand with you through this difficult trial
You are not alone.