The Mud-Struggler

by Joanna Deffner on January 16, 2019

In sixth grade, my class participated in a Lake Education Association Program (LEAP). Its mission was to increase awareness and education about the wetlands coupled with efforts to save and protect them.

To cover the “learning” part of LEAP, my class took a field trip to the closest wetland location to collect soil samples and plant specimens. Lolloping through the marshy environment, my eager classmates and I were given one strict instruction: don’t go too close to the riverbank. Wetland is exactly as the name implies: the ground is wet and isn’t 100% solid.

Thirty minutes later, I was coming to the groundbreaking conclusion that all mud was the same color (even three feet deep into the ground). But, my reverie was interrupted when I heard a forlorn wail. I whirled around to see one of my classmates sunk chest-deep into the mud.

Wide-eyed I watched as chaperones desperately tried to save the child. The ground wouldn’t bare the weight of a rescuer; there wasn’t a clear path to retrieve her from the muddy prison. In shear panic, she flailed her arms, struggling desperately against the wet soil, but her struggle was to no avail—she sunk deeper into the mud.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (I Peter 5:7, KVJ).

Scripture tells us to cast all of our cares upon God. But, what’s exactly a care and what does it mean to cast them? According to the Greek, a care (merimna) is a worry, anxiety, or anything you care about or are concerned with. And, the process of casting (epiriptó) is throwing away or throwing off those cares on God. Why does He tell us to do this? Because He cares for us and about the things that happen to us. God’s going to take care of anything we need; we don’t need to think or worry about it.

My classmate had a pretty big care that day—she was stuck in the mud. According to this Scripture, she should have cast that concern (or care) upon God because there was no way she was getting out of the mud single-handedly. However, she tried to take ownership of her care. She began to struggle, but this only worsened the situation. She sank deeper into the mud, past her chest and up to her chin.

It might not be mud for you, but we all have something we care about. I’m not only talking about the financial hardships, broken marriages, health issues, or emotional distress you might be facing today. You might (and hopefully) care about your family, wonder when you’ll have time to get groceries, the presentation at work, your homework assignment, or something else; you fill in the blank. We all have something that we care for or towards.

Caring about things isn’t wrong. We step into the realm of sin when we don’t cast (throw off or throw away) those cares to God; we decide to follow own will and care for or worry about them (Matthew 7:21).

When we don’t cast, we’re like my classmate. Whether we’ve realized it or not, we’ve stepped too close to the riverbank, have sunk into the mud, and keep struggling (caring for something) God never intended for us to mess with. And, in taking matters (cares) into our own hands, we make a mess of things, get stuck, and then wonder why we’re cast down, unable to find peace, burdened, sick, tired, etc.

It’s only when we cast off our care unto God and stand still, will we see our salvation (Exodus 14:13). This may come in the form of deliverance, peace, or rest for you, but ultimately it frees us up to care about our Father’s Kingdom—His purpose, plan, and vision (Philippians 4:9). I’d rather care for those things, wouldn’t you?

My classmate was freed from the mud just a short while afterward. She made it out before the mud went over her head, and was back to her original purpose: exploring the wetlands. Don’t be a mud-struggler today and lose sight of what God has instructed you to do. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you, and redirect your focus toward what God has in store for you today.