“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
This morning as I was meeting with some men, we talked about the causes of anxiety. They cited circumstances like the loss of a job, not having enough money, a child who is out of sorts, and a struggling marriage. In many of these cases, they felt like they were losing control. We all fall into the category of “control freak,” meaning trying to control life, circumstances, people, addictions, spouses, children and well, everything. Several months ago I wrote a newsletter about a prisoner I’ve been caring for during the last 27 years, who came to Christ through our friendship. He was referred to me years ago by my friend Bob Muzikowski, who had been his high school classmate.
Craig Szemple is serving two 25-year sentences for capital crimes. He is 14 years away from the possibility of probation. Being behind bars brought him into a love life with Jesus years ago. He and I have been co-laborers for Christ all these years. His prison ministry is really on the “inside.” He has a deep connection to prayer, hope, and service, and reaching his cell mates for Christ. He is in his cell much like the cloistered monks who I have known. Recently he sent me a meditation he wrote. I thought you might be inspired by Craig’s reflections as I certainly was.
OF LITTLE INFLUENCE “Are you used to controlling the well-being of those you love most? Do you warn them, teach them, help them?
What happens when we find that we no longer have any control, when there is nothing we can do to influence the critical circumstances in our families’ lives? Or the circumstances in our own lives, for that matter? Can we pray and find peace? Can we let go and let Christ?
Being in prison has made me understand up front and totally what it means to trust God 100% and more if it were possible. Behind these walls, there is nothing I can physically do to influence for myself or my family. But I can and do pray – constantly. I’ve learned to depend on Christ for everything big and everything small – from taking care of my children, to taking care of the most mundane, previously taken–for-granted things like bathing.
Resting in the love of the Lord “who careth for you” is a quantum leap when you are used to doing things yourself. Yet the Lord loves us enough that there is nothing he can’t or won’t do for us if, in prayer, we “cast our anxieties on him.” Take the leap of faith today. He will not fail you.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your overwhelming love for me and my family. Everything important depends on you and not on me, so help me keep my anxieties surrendered to your loving care.” (Craig Francis Szemple)
Thank you, dear friends, for your love and care for me, my family, and my ministry. My deepest prayer is to lay aside every encumbrance and cast all my cares upon Christ, to follow His calling and release control of all things to Him.
Thankful for you,