What do you do with your anxieties?
St. Peter in his first letter advises to “cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you.” St. Peter was a fisherman and used giant nets, tossed or cast over the side of the boat, to catch fish. Once the net was cast, he did nothing more to the net. He did not jiggle it or pull it in every few minutes to see if anything was in it. He waited.
Great St. Peter knows about nets but what experience did he have with anxiety?
A Special Moment with Jesus
I believe St. Peter’s advice evolved from a very special moment of really bad fishing and Jesus’s miraculous assistance inthe 21st chapter of John’s Gospel.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Worry was mounting, Jesus appeared and Peter obeyed. Peter had been doing this exact thing all night, but the difference now was he was trusting Jesus with the outcome. He cast his net and his worry, and waited for the outcome. The answer was more than he could have ever imagined; yet I truly believe even if that net still came up empty, Peter would have been at peace. The beauty of this special moment, the one recorded for all time in the Scriptures - the nets are teeming with an abundance of blessing.
Put Down Your Fishing Pole
How concerned Peter must have been to fish all night with nothing to show. There were mouths to feed and a living to be made. In his hour of need, there is a stranger offering him a hope in the midst of his worry. Even though Peter did not recognize Jesus nor perhaps completely trust (or understand) this stranger’s plan, something within him knew to trust this man and cast his net.
It is that true of us at times too? Maybe we don't feel Jesus present, do not recognize He is walking our worry with us. By just being there, Jesus revealed His care to Peter and the other disciples. We too are those other disciples to whom Jesus appears and speaks the same command: cast your nets the way I guide you and you will find something.
Jesus Cares about Your Anxieties
I cast my cares on Jesus as well; however, I use a fishing pole.
Some of the problems I cast out seem so insignificant I feel guilty bothering Jesus and reel them back in. Other times, the concern feels big enough to throw onto God but if the response is not quick enough, I again reel it back in. Still there are moments I grow anxious fearing I am wasting my prayer (aka think fairy godmother three wishes) for something I can probably handle on my own and should wait to bug Jesus with something more important in the future.Jesus appearing during St. Peter’s crisis illustrated that not only does he know about anxieties, but also wants to help us and maybe even beyond our wildest expectations.
When I do cast my worries to Jesus, willing to trust without reeling them back in, I am blessed to experience the incredible love and care Christ has for me. Are you willing to cast your net?