In Luke 18 Jesus tells the story of two men that went into the temple to pray. One man was religiously and professionally accomplished, and a sense of self-sufficiency filled his heart as he prayed. Jesus said that God did not even listen to that man.
By contrast, another man, a despised sinner with a messed up life, was so ashamed to be in the temple that he sat in the back so no one could see him. That man, who humbled himself before God, left with the help he needed.
The only thing you need to access God’s help is need. All you need is need.
One of the most important parts of effective waiting is to humble ourselves before God (1 Peter 5:6), which means a couple of things. First, it means we simply receive our time of waiting as part of God’s goodness in our lives. It means we don’t rage against it.
Second, we admit we need God’s help. What we naturally want to do is tell ourselves we can get through it and fix it on our own. We say, “It’s not really an addiction.” “It’s not a crisis.” “I don’t need help.” But that’s our pride talking.
Peter’s instruction is not just a command to “be humble!” It is an invitation to stop pretending we can do it on our own and admit we need God’s help.
All you need is need. Without it, you’ll never get God’s help.
Don’t Just Pray About It
When Peter says to “cast all your anxiety on him” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV), he is using a word that in Greek literally means to “hurl.” A lot of times we pray about our worries, and then when we’re done, we pick them right back up. But Peter’s not just telling us to pray about it. He is saying, “Hurl your worries onto Jesus. Make him responsible for that problem. Set it on his shoulders. He will carry it.”
That doesn’t mean you don’t ever do anything about it. There is always a responsibility on our part. But when you hurl your problems onto God, they become his problem. He may get you to do something about it, but the weight of solving your problems is not on you but on God.
“Cast” in Greek is also a participle that modifies the verb “humble yourselves.” In other words, casting is a form of humility. The opposite of casting is keeping, and that keeping manifests in worry. Worry, in this way, is a form of pride, assuming the mantle of control instead of entrusting our problems to God.
I’ve struggled with this. I would often pray about a problem but then, when I was done praying, I would pick the weight of it right back up and start carrying it again—as if I thought I had the strength to bear it on my own. So I’ve started to do a small thing to help me with this. After I pray about a problem, I often say to God, “I trust you with this.” It’s my way of reminding myself that the burden now lies with God. I don’t know how he’ll respond, but in saying, “I trust you,” I know that he’ll respond.
What a friend we have in Jesus! We can carry all our griefs to him in prayer—and humbly leave them there.