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

One of the amazing things about the Bible, in my opinion anyway, is the nuggets of truth that are scattered throughout its pages. Little phrases that hold in them tremendous encouragement for us and open to us a clear view of how much God really does love us.

1 Peter 5:7 is one of these nuggets. To set the stage a bit, the book of Peter was written by Jesus’ disciple, Peter. You remember good ole’ stick my foot in my mouth, hot tempered, proud and boastful Peter. The same guy that promised to honor Jesus and then denied him a few minutes later?

Peter wrote this letter to Christ-followers who were going through persecution that was so severe that it was considered the most heinous treatment of human beings in history. He’s writing to people who felt outnumbered, misunderstood and in constant threat of imprisonment, torture and death.

Towards the end of his letter he says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Did you see it? The nugget of truth for us? Look again. “he cares for you”.  Let it sink in. “he cares for you” He, Jesus, the Son of the most high God.

Now personalize it. “Jesus cares for me.” Mull that over. Jesus cares.  Doesn’t sound like a distant, removed or uninterested God to me. He cares. He doesn’t just care for the world. Jesus cares for me!

That’s not stuffy theology. It’s not restrictive doctrine or rigid rules. It’s love. You see, what Peter is really telling his readers then and now is this. During those times when life is impossible. When your relationships have failed, when you are misunderstood or caught in sin, when the addictions seem to be overpowering you, when fear and ruin seem inevitable. Jesus cares.

When someone cares for you it’s evident. You know someone really cares for you when they listen intently to your every word; when they know what you like and dislike; when they understand your anger or sorrow or frustration.

A person who really cares for you is always proud of you. Not for what you have done but because of who you are, the real you. You know, the one that others rarely get to see?

A person who cares of you challenges you. He encourages you to strive for your dreams, but doesn’t get disappointed in you when things don’t go as planned. He’s the kind of person that attends every one of your games, or recitals, or concerts or workshops and listens intently to the same words you’ve said a thousand times and acts like each repeated thought is brand new and profound.

That’s Jesus. He cares for you. When the world crashed in, remember. Jesus cares for you.

Caring has another side to it. It’s not a pleasant side at the time, but it’s an important side none-the-less. If a parent, for example, cares for his child he disciplines his child. Discipline isn’t punishment. Punishment has anger at its base and revenge as its motive. Discipline is more about love, about shaping, about molding. Its motive is love. Its desire is pure.

Alongside discipline is its twin, tough love. Discipline says I’ll mold you. Tough love says, “if I have to, I’ll let the consequences of your decisions run their course. Then, I’ll mold you when you are ready.

Discipline and tough love are never fun. Not for the receiver or the giver. But discipline and tough love both work together to create character and integrity that will bring us through the tough times.

That’s Jesus. He cares for you. He loves you the way you are, but loves you far too much to leave you that way. When life gets hard, don’t get angry or bitter. Remember that Jesus cares. Talk to Him. Rest in Him. Let his healing arms of love surround you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Thank you for caring for me. I know I’m not always an easy one to love. I make bad choices. I hurt people and myself. I get angry at you when I don’t get my way. I’m just a spoiled two-year-old sometimes. I’m so undeserving of your patient, loving care but I thank you for being here for me. You truly are an Awesome God. Amen.

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”1 Samuel 16:1

Samuel was a priest who experienced first-hand the nation Israel’s transition from being a people governed totally by God (through priests) and being governed by a King when he annointed Saul as the very first King of Israel.

In spite of Samuel’s help, Saul had not proven to be a king that honored God. He was too easily swayed by the opinions of the people and was openly disobedient to the rules God had set forth for him. As a result God would soon be removing Saul from the throne and replacing him with a new king.

When God made this announcement to Samuel, he was very sad indeed. In fact the Bible tells us that he reacted in the same way one would react if someone close to us had died, by going into mourning.

God came to Samuel one day and told him it was time to be done with his sadness. He had a new man chosen for the throne and Samuel would be the one to anoint him as King, just as he’d done with Saul.

The man Samuel would anoint was a shepherd boy named David. He would become the strongest King the nation Israel would ever see and be referred to by God himself as a ‘man after my own heart.’

Imagine what is must have been like for Samuel to be involved in one more transition of power. He’d poured a lot of time and effort into Saul and it hadn’t worked out at all the way he’d hoped. When Saul failed I’m sure that Samuel felt a little bit of a failure as well. It’s never easy to see projects of yours fail. That’s true whether those projects are people, places or things. Failure hurts.

In anointing David, Samuel would witness a passing of an era as well. Change is never easy. Especially when that change involves something that is near and dear to your heart.

While we may never have an opportunity to anoint a king or usher in a new era, each of us know what it is like to experience the pain of failure. We are all to familiar with the effects of change in our lives. Relationships fail that we’ve counted on for a lifetime. Favorite TV shows are pulled from the air. Businesses we have frequented close their doors. And with each of these events we feel the pain of their passing.

We don’t always understand the reason for the changes that come into our lives. As Christ-followers we need to remember that if we trust God and look objectively at the changes that come we will see how God can take changes that are tough to handle and make them into blessings for our future. When changes come remember that God has everything in His control and will take care of you in whatever new challenges arise.

PRAYER: Father God. There are so many changes going on in my life right now. Some are of my own doing. Many are being forced upon me. Regardless of the reason, change is hard for me to take. I ask that you would empower me with your Holy Spirit to accept the changes that are ahead of me and look for the blessings that will come as a result. Amen.

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