It dawned on me at 3 am that my high school freshman would be missing almost half of his math classes the first three weeks of school due to golf matches.
My eyes snapped open. A core class, at the end of the day. He has a study hall right away in the morning. Could he switch it? How many math classes could there be? He plays on the school golf team; who (other than the two of us) failed to realize that there might be a problem with this scheduling? Is this actually a problem? Who should he contact? What will he do? Should I step in? He’s in 9th grade; this is something that he is capable of handling. What is my role here? What can he do what should we do what is there to do?
Several times I tried to cast my worries to God. “I’m casting this to you, God,” I thought, as my husband snored peacefully beside me. He doesn’t worry like I do. I casted my concerns to God over and over, imagining throwing an empty net up in the air (Why an empty net? Shouldn’t it be filled with ugly, fish-faced worries? To be fair, it was 3 am) and watching it fall back to the earth. My strength wasn’t up to the task, and as that net in my imagination tumbled down, I gave up and went back to fumbling with the worries.
I like the image of casting our troubles away. Instead of trying to run away from our troubles or manage them alone, we throw them. We play a one-way game of catch with God, and heave them with all our might into his waiting hands. We pray “thy will be done” and put our faith in him, staying close to him in his word and in our behavior. In the meantime, we draw closer to him.
Trouble is, our strength isn’t always up to the task. We hang onto our worries because it’s our habit. Sometimes we say “Here, catch” to God and in the next moment we forget to sit quietly and listen for him. Worrying is more active. Waiting on God is noble and I know it’s the right thing to do, but darn it all, he’s going to fail math and he hasn’t even gone to school a full week yet.
Calming down the worries long enough to cast them away is only one step, just a tiny first step. The real work comes in the waiting, the discipline of reading and meditating and believing over and over that God knows what is right, that he will reveal what should be done in this situation, that he will do what he promises.
The real work – where we are strengthened – is not in the casting. It is remembering what he did for us by sacrificing his son on the cross. That was an unimaginable plan, one that he made before any of us took our first breath. He made a promise and when he saw the dear child he made, he didn’t take back his promise to allow him to die for all of us, even though we don’t deserve it.
Our job is not to worry about the things on earth that cause us to toss and turn in the wee hours. It is to ask God to work in our lives, and ask him what our next steps are. It is to read his word and open our hearts to whatever it is he wants to reveal to us. It is to trust that he knows our troubles and exactly what we are to do about them.
God never fails; he always knows just what we need to do in every situation. After casting our worries away, our work starts. It always brings us closer to him.
Dear God, Today is a hard day. Thank you for reminding me that no difficulty is bigger than you. Please help me to navigate this day. Thank you. Amen.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7