1 Peter 5:6-11

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.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11
“Watch out for ducks!”
 
It’s an odd warning to give kids as they head out the door, an inside family joke that sums up the litany of public service announcements I try to squeeze in before sending them to school or summer camp or college. It means tie-your-shoes-wear-your-helmet-wash-your-face-don’t-do-drugs-read-your-bible-put-on-sunscreen-study-hard-brush-your-teeth-don’t-speed-be-kind-open-doors-pray.
 
It means I love you.
 
We parents care deeply about our children, and we work hard to compensate for their underdeveloped frontal lobes. We want them to live their best lives. We want them to live for Christ. And we just don’t want them to get hurt.
 
Peter cares deeply for the recipients of this letter, these children in the faith, exiles scattered throughout Asia Minor and suffering religious persecution. As he closes his letter to them, which is also God’s letter to us, Peter packs a lot into his final greetings. He doesn’t joke about ducks, but he warns about a roaring lion, our adversary the devil. Peter understands that suffering tends to move us in one of two directions. In humble faith, we lean into God, allowing him to strengthen us, sustain us, comfort and heal us. Or, in self-sufficiency and doubt, we turn away from God, becoming bitter and angry. This is the enemy’s goal. Peter longs for us to resist the devil and remain firm in our faith. He reminds us we are never alone, that our earthly suffering is short-lived when put in perspective on an eternal timeline against a backdrop of infinite glory in Christ.
 
As a young child, I memorized verse 7: “casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” It was and is both a true and lovely thought, that our God cares for us and wants us to leave our worries with him. But it’s an incomplete thought, not even a complete sentence without the verse before it. Casting our anxiety on God has everything to do with being humble.
 
We need to remember that God is God, and we are not.
 
This past week, multiple speakers and writers, voices of faith and secularism, have addressed the harm that comes when we feel a false omnipresence and false omniscience. Our constant and instant access to newsfeeds and social media gives us the wrong impression that we are in all places at all times, experiencing every tragedy and crisis. We find ourselves engulfed in wildfire flames, drowning in hurricane floods, suffocating under the weight of injustice, and trapped by a global pandemic. We want to feel empathy and compassion, to pray for God’s mercy, and to take action when we can. But God is omnipresent and omniscient. We are not.  
 
In None Like Him, Jen Wilkin writes: “Turned loose from the myth of human omniscience, we find we are free to mind our own business. The business of every believer is to strive to understand what God has revealed. What he has revealed is sufficient for salvation, needful for godliness, and supremely worthy of meditation. It is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. It becomes the filter through which we learn to choose wisely what additional knowledge is good for our souls.”
 
Questions for Reflection:

  1. Do you ever become overwhelmed by information overload? Do you find yourself carrying the burden of a false sense of omnipresence or omniscience? Take inventory of your information consumption and consider where you might benefit from new boundaries.
  2. Meditate on Psalm 131, asking God for the grace to trust Him fully and humbly.
Rebecca Janni | Author

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