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Archive for Inspiration

Avalanches of Life: A Spiritual Lesson

 

As I was hiking in the wilderness recently, I crossed several debris fields from recent slides this spring. Broken, uprooted trees dotted the mountainside turning the once beautiful view into a marred landscape.

Avalanches. Leaving a path of complete devastation, the massive snow force rumbles down the slope crushing trees like match sticks in one giant force of nature. While slope angle, snowpack, and weather serve as predictors, avalanches can occur with little to no warning sometimes in areas where a slide has not occurred in over one hundred years.

Unpredictable. Destructive. Overwhelming. Avalanches are never pleasant to experience. The aftermath of the debris left behind lingers for many years as a testament to their power.

Observing the devastation from the recent slides in the wilderness caused me to think of avalanches of another type. Life avalanches.

Life hits us hard sometimes. We become floored when life throws us curve balls: the unexpected loss of a loved one, bad news from a doctor, accidents, spousal betrayal, among others. What do you do when an avalanche rips through your life creating a path of destruction in its wake?

If you are like most people, anxiety quickly sets in.

I don’t know how I can get through this.

I don’t know what I can do.

I don’t know how I will survive this.

If you are a believer, most likely at one point you will turn to 1 Peter 5:7:

“Cast all your anxieties (cares, worries) on God, for He cares for you.”

The problem is sometimes we cast those worries on God, and the destruction in our lives remains. We still struggle with grief over the loss of a loved one. The cancer hasn’t gone away. The accident not only hurt your body but also your ability to perform your job. The spouse who cheated on you is now happily remarried while you struggle through life hurt and alone wondering who you can really trust.

You stare at the debris field in your life and think: Ok, God, I have casted my cares on You, but my life hasn’t gotten any better. I’m still alone and afraid. I still don’t know what to do or how I am going to make it through this.

The problem is that we do a lot of talking. We throw those worries on God, yet we keep ourselves in the center of them. Take a look at the word “anxiety.” It is a seven-letter word. The letter “I” is right in the center of it.

At the center of anxIety is “I”! We never truly let go of those worries. We never truly let go of those fears. We never truly let go of that hurt. We cast it on Jesus, but we don’t let go as we cast! We never let go of the net.

Peter was a fisherman, so he was using an analogy that he was comfortable with when he wrote 1 Peter 5:7. There is an art to casting a net that Peter was well aware of. First, one initiates the throw by twisting at the waist. Then, you release the net as you feel it build momentum and allow the weight of the net to carry it out of your hands and sail away. The net will fan out and sink to the bottom of the water trapping anything in its vicinity.

When Peter said to cast all of our cares, worries, and anxieties on God, he didn’t mean for us to just tell them to Jesus. He didn’t mean for us to say Ok, I’m struggling with this, this, and this. He meant for us to literally cast them – to let go of them, to let them fan out, to let them sink on God who can bear the weight of them instead of us.

Peter knew that if the net was cast on us that we would be trapped. He knew when the avalanches came in our lives that we would sink in the debris. So, he told us to cast them away. To cast them on the only One who can bear the weight of them. To cast them on the only One who can break free of the net.

Cast all your cares on Jesus. Throw them, fling them, release them and let go!

Then, it’s no longer. I don’t know how I can get through this. Instead, it becomes: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is no longer “I” in the middle of it.

To truly understand 1 Peter 5:7, one must first look at the context. Take a look at 1 Peter 5:6.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.”

In fact, don’t look at 1 Peter 5:6 and 5:7 as two separate sentences. Look at them as one as portrayed in the ESV version.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”

We cast our anxieties on God as a result of humbling ourselves. We take the focus off of ourselves and why this is happening to us or how we are going to get through it. Instead, we humble ourselves to God. There is another word in which the letter “I” is at the center.

pride

Pride is the opposite of humility. Pride says: I can do this. I can fix this. It is all about me. Humbling ourselves to God says: God, You can do this. You can fix this. It is all about You.

We humble ourselves by casting our cares onto God. God’s promise in these verses is that at the right time, He will exalt us, He will lift us up!

Avalanches change the landscape in the mountains. The scarring and disfigurement ultimately creates new habitats for plants and wildlife. New growth occurs in the wake of devastation.

1 Peter 5:6 is a promise. At the right time, healing will come! At the right time, we will be lifted up!  At the right time, the landscape of the debris from the avalanche that has happened in your life will change. At the right time, you will look back on this chapter in your life and say:

I can see how God walked with me. I can see how God strengthened me. I can see how God made my faith grow. I can see how God blessed me even in the midst of trials. I can see how God got me through that. I can see how I truly can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

The next time an avalanche roars and crashes through your life cast that debris field on God. And, let go of the net!