During this COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are faced with uncertainties of life perhaps more than ever before. Churches are not able to gather; families are separated from each other; many people are afraid of contracting this deadly virus; and many are concerned about the long-term economic impact. Uncertain times usually generate different responses from people. Some are convinced that the current situation is being overblown and politicized while others are fearful to the point of despair. I am convinced that when high levels of uncertainties abound, fear, anxiety, and sometimes panic often follow. I am also convinced that in times like this, the Apostle Peter has timely words in his first epistle for dealing with the uncertainties of this life. These words are found in 1 Peter 5:6–7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
First, during times of uncertainty, we must remember the sovereign hand and compassionate care of God. Peter emphasizes God’s sovereignty in the phrase “the mighty hand of God.” God’s omnipotent hand is not only leading His people into the difficulties they face, but also sustaining them through these difficulties. Peter emphasizes his readers’ adversity and God’s sustaining assistance throughout his epistle (1:5–6; 3:10–14; 4:12–14, 19). Also, Scripture consistently testifies to God’s hand as a constant source of strength and comfort for His people during adverse times (Josh 4:22–24; Ps 37:23–24; Is 41:10; Jn 10:27–29). Peter then declares that God cares for his people. God’s people can have confidence in God’s care for them primarily because of the ministry of Christ and the cross. Christ assured His disciples of the loving care of the Father (Matt 6:25–34; Luke 12:4–7), and the cross demonstrates God’s love for us even while we were rebels against Him (John 3:16; Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4–7). God’s compassion for His children assures us and strengthens us through times of difficulty because He knows our frailty (Ps 103:13–18; Mal 3:17).
Second, during times of uncertainty, we must respond to God by humbly casting our cares on Him. Man’s response in this passage is to humble himself and to give his burdens completely to the Lord. Humility is a character trait that God requires of His children in times of adversity. Peter applies Proverbs 3:34 to his readers (5:5–6) because it is only through humility that a person receives God’s divine help (2 Chron 7:14; Jas 4:6). Pride is the great enemy of those who are fearful because in pride the person tries to deal with adversity by himself. Those who are fearful during uncertain times must acknowledge that the pride of self-help must be abandoned, and a reliance on God must be embraced. In humility, we must cast our anxieties on God alone. The response of humility, “humble yourselves,” is evidenced by “casting all your anxiety” on the Lord. The basis for casting your anxiety on God is His care for His people. God’s care for believers is shown by His compassion and care for those who are His own (Matt 6:25–26). The future hope of the exaltation of God is emphasized throughout Scripture and should be a motivation for believers to entrust their fears by relying on God’s power and compassionate care (2 Chron 7:14–15; Prov 3:34; Luke 11:43, 14:11, 18:14).
As we navigate life through uncertain times, let us humbly cast our cares on the One who controls and sustains the universe (Col 1:16–17). Let us rest in the God who promises His sustaining help and care throughout the uncertainties of our current circumstances. Let us embrace God’s promise to a fearful and proud people: “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is 41:10).