From the President

Life ain’t easy.

I know that statement is grammatically incorrect. But in the reality of life, it’s very true.

Life can be amazingly hard at times. It follows the 80/20 rule. Imagine riding a bike. Eighty percent of the time, life is like a hard climb up a steep mountain. Twenty percent of the time, it’s like reaching the top and coasting down to the next climb. But it’s not 50/50; it’s 80/20.

And why is that? Part of the answer is that we are living life or, in this analogy, riding a bike, with a great deal of weight. We’ve got baggage. Some of it is new. Some is not. But it’s heavy and makes the climb even more difficult. And we seem to accumulate it. The longer we ride, the heavier it gets.

Under pressure

We pick up some of this baggage through our family of origin. Perhaps we add some as we go through the educational system and experience a few failures or the cutting comments of teachers and fellow students. We begin our work experience and the pressures mount. Maybe we get married and a few more anxieties and cares come. Or we don’t and that brings its own set of cares. Or our health deteriorates or a loved one faces medical challenges. Or we get caught in the sandwich generation and find that trying to raise kids and take care of aging parents is too much. Or the concerns of the world weigh us down like the war in Iraq and environmental issues, etc., and other cares that grab our hearts every day as we read the newspaper or watch TV.

And, as believers, we, of course, have deep spiritual concerns. We care that people meet Christ. We want to see Young Life make a difference in this world. We drive by a school where there is no outreach and we grieve.

We change; our world changes and we peddle furiously to keep up. Can anyone help us on this ride of our lives? The answer, of course, is a resounding, “Yes.”

Small problems, big God

The Apostle Peter knew the truth and, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, shared it with us: “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Another translation reads, “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” I like that better. It eliminates all excuses. Some of us may say, “Sure, I’ve got a few issues but I’m not filled with anxiety!” But none of us can say, “I don’t have any cares!” We do. All of us.

And I’m certainly not saying that all it takes to face the challenges we have and the cares and anxieties that we face is just “pray about it.” But my concern is that we don’t realize that we have a loving, heavenly father who is waiting for us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. Unfortunately, I’ve seen in my own life and the lives of those around me, that we don’t readily cast our anxieties and cares on Him. Maybe we feel it’s a sign of weakness to even think we have anxieties. Maybe we think we can handle them ourselves. Maybe we get too busy or too distracted to even remember what we’re supposed to do with these cares. Or maybe we simply forget in the heat and pressure of living life. Or maybe, and this is even more dangerous, we don’t believe God is big enough or strong enough or loving enough to handle what we’re facing.
Sometimes, our thinking is skewed. We see our problems, cares and anxieties as BIG and God as small. We might never say that in those words but we act like that. Instead we need to think of our problems as small compared to the all-encompassing strength and love of the Lord.

And we need to cast our cares on Him because He does care for us. How might we do this?

How to cast

I’d like to suggest that we sit down in a quiet place and actually write down all the cares, concerns and anxieties we have and then, one by one, present them to the strong and loving Lord.

“Lord, I’m really concerned about my family. Here are these concerns” … and specifically give them to Him. Imagine yourself emptying a backpack — one care at a time. Then move to the next category. Maybe it’s our job. Or a debilitating temptation that we can’t seem to overcome. Or a real anxiety that we can’t get a handle on and maybe feel weak or guilty even talking about it. Or it’s a world issue. Or lost kids.

Regardless, one by one, cast them on the Lord. I love that verb. Casting. In the midst of our bike analogy, change gears. Move to fly-fishing. A cast involves flinging a line in a purposeful way. You are casting it. And when you do, there is a distance factor as the fly moves farther from you and closer to your target. That’s what you want to do — create distance. You throw that care on God. You stop carrying it yourself.

And every time that care arises again, cast it one more time. Again and again and again. In the process, the Lord might lead you to face these anxieties in an additional way: a support group, a doctor or therapist, a plan of action. But none of these “additions” make up for the primary action — casting, casting, casting.

We all have cares, concerns, anxieties. We can’t live the abundant life God wants for us if we are carrying them ourselves. The words of Peter are not a suggestion; they are a command. The God of the universe, the Maker of heaven and earth, wants to help us. Let’s allow Him to do so by casting our cares on Him because He cares for us.