Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)
How did he do it? For decades, the man ran an orphanage in Bristol, England. And not a small orphanage. More than ten thousand orphans were entrusted to his care during his lifetime.
At times, the whole work seemed to teeter on the brink of extinction. There were nights he went to sleep with the cupboards bare, or with no milk for the orphans’ breakfast, trusting a hope that God would provide in the morning. And again and again, God provided. Hanging almost by a single thread, humanly speaking, the work continued.
How easily he could have been weighed down by the “cares of this life” (Luke 21:34), even as he did the Lord’s work. “The cares of the world” might have slowly grown to “choke the word” (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19) in his own soul, but for this: he learned to roll his burdens onto the Lord.
God’s Broad Shoulders
George Mueller (1805–1898) believed in the broad shoulders of God. The children of God, Mueller said, “are permitted, not only permitted but invited, not only invited but commanded, to bring all their cares, sorrows, trials, and wants to their heavenly Father. They are to roll all their burdens upon God.”
Mueller knew God’s back and arms were strong. And he proved them. He believed God could handle every care his children would cast on him, every burden they would lay at his feet, every worry they would roll onto his able shoulders in prayer. “It is the will of your heavenly Father that you are not to be anxious even in such circumstances,” said Mueller. “If you roll the burden upon God and cast all your cares upon him, you will be free from anxiety even regarding this.”
Cast Your Cares
Mueller learned to live the amazing promise and provision of his Lord in 1 Peter 5:6–7:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
God doesn’t promise his people carefree lives, free from any burdens or causes to worry. No, we inevitably amass cares, and all the more as we follow Christ’s call to meet the needs of others (as Mueller did for thousands of orphans). But our God doesn’t mean for us to carry those burdens on our own backs and shoulders, but to roll them onto him in prayer.
Cares and anxieties don’t automatically roll to him. God gives us the dignity of rolling them, of laying them down. He wants our childlike faith that turns to our Father and casts our cares on him. They must be cast — which is active, conscious, and intentional. He wants us to take advantage of the mind-boggling gift we have, as his children, of having his ear in prayer. He not only speaks to us in his word, but our Father bends his ear and wants to hear from us — and he leans one shoulder in, ready to bear whatever burden we carry.
“Humble yourselves” is the reminder that our anxieties often expose our pride and sense of self-sufficiency. To lose sight of God is to decline in humility. Your cares are indeed more than you can bear. Your anxiety may be rising with a subtly swollen view of self, and with it, a diminished view of God. Have you forgotten how broad are his shoulders, how strong his back, how ready his ear?
Humble yourselves “so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” Our sense of timing is typically not God’s perfect sense of timing. He knows all our needs (Matthew 6:32) and has his “proper time,” so we shouldn’t rush to judgment when our prayers, prompted by our worries, are not immediately answered in the way we would like. Rolling our burdens onto him doesn’t mean he gives us what we want right away, but that he gives faith, which prepares us to wait patiently for his perfect timing.
He Cares for You
Finally, we hear what may be the four most anxiety-dispelling words for our souls: “he cares for you.” The coming of Christ, his sacrificing of himself for your sake, his rising again in power, his coronation as King of kings at the right hand of his Father, the sending of his Spirit — it all bears witness that “he cares for you.”
The Father demonstrates his care for you in this: that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). The Father did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for you — how will he not graciously give you all you need, in his perfect timing (Romans 8:32)?
Mueller tried the shoulders of our God and found them stunningly strong, and ever ready. And so will you when you cast your cares on him.