Recently, I've been reading a wonderful blog entitled "Stuff Christians Like" by Jon Acuff. I'm not entirely sure how I happened upon it, but I suspect it had something to do with Acuff's connection to Dave Ramsey. I suppose that's not important though.
Each time I see this particular blog show up in my rss reader, I know I'm in for a treat! Acuff writes well, with enough humor to make reading enjoyable, and enough scripture to make it profitable. Today's topic was on casting your worries on God. The post is entitled "The Wrong Type of Fishing." I'll let you go read it there. (Go ahead... I'll wait.)
So this post made me think a bit, and I think I respectfully disagree with Acuff's choice in fishing metaphors. Though I do like bits of it, I think that:
- If the "cast"ing described in 1 Peter 5:7 is in fact referring to fishing, I think it would probably the common method of fishing in Biblical times, that is, net casting. Peter, after all, would have been most familiar with this method as that was how he made his living prior to meeting Jesus.
- I don't think God expects us to continue to take back our worries. As hard as it is for us to manage, I think God wants the casting to be more permanent than that.
I have to agree with the net-casting imagery.But of course, even after clicking "submit comment" my brain continued to work on the thought.
Have you ever seen someone cast a net? You have to gather it in first. Gather up all the anxiety, the stress, the pain, whatever. The net, all bunched up looks tense. It looks like a big pile of interwoven, tangled mess.
Then you take this tangled-up, bunched-up, messy net and you throw it away! You “cast” it as far from you as you can, and you have to LET GO of the net. As you throw it, it becomes bigger, takes form, you start to see what is really there. It wasn’t really tangled or messy, it just looked that way when you had it in your hands. But as you let go, you can see it more clearly and it’s not nearly as bad as you thought it was.
And then, once it’s out of your hands, you let it sink in to the water. You let the water (God if you’re following my analogy) take it until it’s completely out of sight and out of reach.
That’s the way I think of it at any rate.
The gathering up the net, that comes pretty naturally, right? That's what we do as we lie awake at 2 AM, staring at the bedroom ceiling and wondering how we're going to fix the mess we've made of things or avoid the problems we know are lurking just around the corner. That's the easy part.
But the letting go, well, that's another story.
Letting go has to be done intentionally. And really letting go, like properly casting a fishing net, takes practice. We have to grow in our faith and learn to really trust God with these things. It's not something most new believers are capable of doing. Sure, we try, but our fingers get tangled in the net and when we think we're casting it away from us we just wind up dropping it at our own feet.
But with time, patience, practice, and a whole lot of prayer, we can eventually manage to get it into the water and out of our hands.
Then, after the net has been cast, and we've allowed it to sink out of sight, that's not the end of it is it? Of course not! If that were all of it, fishermen would starve and the Sea of Galilee would be full of sunken nets! No, after we've cast our net, given it up to the water and let it sink out of site, we eventually have to draw it back in.
But when we receive it back, it's not the same, is it? No longer a tangled up mess, if we've managed to cast properly and allowed God the time to do His part in this, the net should now be full of fish!
Our worries and cares, those difficult things we've been going through, all the pain and hurt and uncertainty and struggle, we give to God. We allow Him to do as He pleases rather than trying to control the situation. And from this tangled and empty net He brings forth blessing! He turns all the awful, tangled things we were allowing to eat us alive into joy!
I think that's what is meant when it says in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." He can take all the bad things that we go through, all the things that keep us up at night, and make something good out of them.
That’s the way I think of it at any rate.