Jesus has just counseled the church to clothe themselves with humility so that when history comes to a close they will be a part of that great celebration of God’s victory over Satan and his evil control. Then, according to most translations, he tells them to “cast their anxieties” on him (1 Peter 5:7) — the only problem is that in the Greek text the previous sentence has not stopped and the charge to cast their anxieties on him is a participle not an imperative. So if this well-known exhortation is grammatically incorrect what is it that Peter is saying? Of several options I believe that the participial clause, “casting our anxieties on Him” is simply a part of the humbling process. The NET’s “by casting all your cares on him” makes it the method by which we humble ourselves. The curse of self-adulation normally involves a significant amount of anxiety lest we fail. Peter tells us to turn our attention to the needs of others, not ourselves, and in the process, anxiety will take care of itself. “Let go and let God” is the contemporary way to put it.
Anxiety is certainly one of the most debilitating attitudes in life. It is out of place in the life of the believer because, as Peter puts it, “He [God] cares for you.” The Greek word for anxiety comes from a root that means “to divide.” Anxiety divides our attention, it distracts us from that which is central. It prevents that calm repose of the inner man that should be the hallmark of the believer. Anxiety follows when we forget that it is God himself who cares for us. We are not left adrift on the sea of chance facing shipwreck on the shoals of an impersonal destiny. We are under the care of a sovereign, yet personal, God. He controls the course of history yet at the same time is intricately involved in the everyday life of each of his children. Anxiety mirrors the fragile nature of our ability to trust. Fortunately it decreases in exact proportion to our willingness to let go of our selfish grasp on life and place ourselves in his loving hands. That He cares for his own is the distinguishing feature of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and should remove anxiety from all who carry the name Christian.