6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:6-8 NIV
The last few days I have had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking and a lot of praying. As some of you know I was forced to leave Haiti last week after suffering severe dehydration due to horrible flu-like symptoms. It is no secret to those who know me well that I am plagued by chronic headaches and stomach problems and am used to living on I.V.s while doing my missionary work and caring for my family.
Despite our best efforts – there was no luck in starting an IV. In desperation and fear that I would slip into a more compromising health situation, Jose and I were forced to fly into Miami. I was at the hospital for four days. While there, they started a PIC line and gave me – IV fluids, IV Iron, and a few bags of blood. The doctors also discovered something else—my fluids were so low (severe iron anemia) that it caused my platelet count to sky rocket and my blood was full of clots. The doctors went on a clot finding mission and found two significant clots that they immediately dissolved by inserting a catheter. I was told it was not a matter of “if” but “when” these clots would have dislodge and caused life-altering effects or death.
I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I have cried myself to sleep nightly. I have cried for myself, for my husband, and even for my children. While here, I found out that a classmate lost his wife to a stroke this past week. They have 2 small children. I have cried for him. My heart has been as heavy as my blood – for my friend and for myself.
The passage in 1Peter 5 tells us to “cast our cares” upon Jesus. I guess you could say I have been casting my cares like the way I used to cast my bait when I fished as a little girl. I can still remember those days of fishing with my family. I had a couple of problems- I hated baiting worms and I couldn’t cast at all. Mom was great at baiting the hooks (I still love her for that). And I do remember Mom and Dad both trying to teach me to cast… but things never went well for me.
No matter how I threw out my line, it never went to the targeted area. Sometimes it went behind me into the trees and other times it barely got off the dock and landed in the weeds. Everyone was afraid of me when I started to rear back behind my head with that pole and reel. Much the same way without any real direction, I have thrown my cares at Jose, a few close friends, or just thrown it in no direction at all. Sometimes, I barely got my cares off the dock– I just had this idea that I could handle it all.
I never really checked out the verses surrounding 1 Peter 5:7 until this week. I’ve been reciting 1 Peter 5:7 since church camp and Vacation Bible School. I’m sure at that time, I was just being fed the milk of that passage and not ready for the meat around it. But when I see the rest of the verses cocooning this famous memory verse—I really see what is happening to me physically and spiritually.
First, in order to truly “cast your cares”, it is necessary for me to be “humbled before my Lord so that He can lift me up”. I found that out this week. My can-do-it-myself attitude is just as thick as my blood! As I look back at some of the spiritually ill episodes in my life—it was that thick attitude that has almost led me to a Spiritual stroke. I’ve been so full of doing things on my own that I have slowed the flow of the Holy Spirit within me. I have actually reduced the power of God to a crawl because I knew better.
It makes so much sense to me now; you can’t cast your cares on Jesus if you think you can do it on your own! Duh! But the real ugly comes in after you have cast your cares upon Jesus… 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us to be alert and ready for Satan—he is looking for his next kill! This now makes so much sense to me—of course the Devil wants to get us when we are down—when we are at full power he doesn’t stand a chance. It is only when we are burdened by a heavy load that he can truly catch us!
For those of you who have prayed for me, thank you. For those of you who have been confused, I apologize. And for those of you who think “Wow, she’s such a drama queen”—I whole-heartedly agree! The last few weeks have been filled with drama—I can own that one for sure! And honestly, by the nature of me, this will not be the last dramatic episode of Jody Castillo. However, I can tell you this—this is the last episode of me thinking I can do it on my own. I have moved to The Mole—not become one! I will not burrow myself away from my Lord’s power, my family’s strength, or my friends’ encouragement.
May God give you the ability today—to cast upon Him your deepest cares and worries so that you may stand firm against the attack of the enemy. I am going back to Haiti in a few days to kiss my babies and love my village people…but most importantly to live out my faith with boldness! Today I am speaking words of life upon my ministry and my family! We will not be devoured. We will not be slowed down spiritually! We will finish the work He called us to!