Wednesday, 14 March 2018

OMF-funded research: a metabolic ‘trap’ hypothesis for ME/CFS

March 14, 2018

On this #OMFScienceWednesday we highlight a new project that OMF is funding, which proposes a new metabolic ‘trap’ hypothesis for ME/CFS. This project is just getting started under the direction of Dr. Robert Phair, Chief Science Officer of Integrative Bioinformatics, Inc., an expert in computational modelling of biological processes. Dr. Phair has been collaborating with Dr. Ron Davis’ team at Stanford for nearly 2 years on investigating mechanisms behind ME/CFS. In this project, they will test a new hypothesis that could help to explain some of the genetic and metabolic characteristics of ME/CFS patients.

The big data study of severely ill ME/CFS patients that we funded identified several genes that carry damaging mutations. Dr. Phair’s hypothesis, based on computational predictions, suggests that some of these mutations may slow down enzymes that process important metabolites required for our energy, brain function, and immune system. If this is true, it could explain some of the symptoms of ME/CFS. Identifying interesting mutations is the (relatively) easy part, though – experimental evidence is needed to confirm their impact. During this project, the team will test how cells with these mutations carry out the relevant metabolic reactions, using special ‘tracer’ metabolites that can be easily followed as they are processed by the cells. These experiments will determine whether the mutations are indeed creating a metabolic ‘trap’ that could lead to the neurological and/or immunological symptoms of ME/CFS. We’ll be happy to share more details as the results provide more evidence. Stay tuned!

Read more about Dr. Phair and his research:

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Trial By Error: News About My Plans by Dr David Tuller

5th March 2018

By David Tuller, DrPH

So I’ve been asked about my plans after June 30th, which is the end of the period covered by last year’s crowdfunding campaign. There’s been significant progress since I launched that effort. Among other developments, the CDC dropped its recommendations for CBT and GET, NICE decided to withdraw its preliminary reaffirmation of its disastrous 2007 guidance and pursue a full overhaul, and Scottish National Party MP Carol Monaghan recently held a groundbreaking parliamentary hearing about PACE.

In regards to the latter, it is awesome that a smart politician in a position to make noise [*This sentence has been changed for clarification; details at end of post] has noted publicly that PACE “will become known as one of the biggest medical scandals of the 21st century.” (Personally, I’d say PACE is on track to become one of the biggest scandals of the current millennium, even though the current millennium is less than 20 years old.) In reporting on MP Monaghan’s efforts, The National, a Scottish daily newspaper, noted the following: “After campaigners went to court to force researchers to release the raw data, that study, known as the PACE trial, has been discredited.”

What a delight to read such a statement in a mainstream U.K. news article. The sentence makes the point that the debunking of PACE is a fact—not just a hopeful assertion made by advocates.

All these changes unequivocally demonstrate that there has been significant erosion in support for the fake claims promoted by the CBT/GET ideological brigades. Besides the flaws in PACE, it has become apparent that many of the other studies from the biopsychosocial crowd are rife with ethical and methodological missteps. That’s on top of the fact that they are all open-label trials with subjective outcomes, which would present an insurmountable obstacle to obtaining reliable and valid results even without all the other violations of scientific principles.

I have recently documented such problems with two studies from the BMJ group of journals—last fall’s Lightning Process study, and the 2011 school absence study, both conducted by investigators from the University of Bristol. In both cases, the evidence shows that the investigators abused the ethical review process. Perhaps they presumed no one would read supporting documents, such as trial protocols or ethics committee opinions that have been wrongly cited to support problematic methodological choices.

So far, the journals have not taken the necessary steps to address these egregious problems. This sort of stonewalling will ultimately harm the reputations of all involved, and it indicates that this is not the time for me to stop examining the issues or to call it quits on this project. When I published my big PACE investigation in October, 2015, I assumed no study could survive the exposure of the nonsense perpetrated by the investigators. I didn’t recognize the degree to which the highest levels of the U.K. academic and medical establishment were ensnared in the delusion that PACE represented quality science and that the researchers involved were actually honorable and honest researchers.

I also had no idea how recalcitrant journals would be to acknowledge their self-evident mistakes, once these were authoritatively documented. And while I thought I might end up being sued, it didn’t occur to me that any self-respecting academic institution would try to squelch my accurate and necessary efforts to expose wrongdoing, the way Bristol University has in formally complaining about my work to Berkeley. I’m glad my own university retains some understanding, unlike Bristol, of the value of academic freedom and the importance of doing the right thing.

So I plan to conduct another crowdfunding campaign to support the project for another year—from July 1st, 2018, to June 30th, 2019. This time, I am working with Berkeley’s own crowdfunding platform, which is made available two or three times a year for university projects. Last year, that wasn’t an option; I was lucky that the foundation running Retraction Watch agreed to act as my fiscal sponsor and donate the money to Berkeley without taking any fees. This time, the funds will go directly to my home base at the university, the Center for Global Public Health, to support my half-time position.

Berkeley’s crowdfunding platform is open for the month of April. I’ll be providing more details about the campaign before or on the April 1st launch. My hope is that, with so much happening on multiple fronts, progress will actually accelerate in the next year and the CBT/GET paradigm will continue its downward spiral to oblivion–the fate it deserves.

*Clarification: The sentence originally referred to “a government official in a position of authority.” In the U.S., members of Congress are considered part of the government and they are considered to have authority, even if they are not in the executive branch. However, it was pointed out to me that the words mean something different in the U.K. The original sentence appeared to indicate that MP Monaghan is part of the government in power, which she clearly is not.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction

C H Spurgeon's Morning Devotional for 3rd March

"I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."

Isaiah 48:10

Comfort thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power? Let affliction come-God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready-God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has "chosen" me. If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, He makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee. Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see Him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of His hands. Dost thou not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, "Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God." Remember that noble speech of Caesar: "Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune." Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. "Fear not, for I am with thee," is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the "furnace of affliction." Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say-

"Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes."

Thursday, 1 March 2018

DNA gets away: Scientists catch the rogue molecule that can trigger autoimmunity and 'Low T3 Syndrome'

DNA gets away: Scientists catch the rogue molecule that can trigger autoimmunity

(This is not specifically about ME, but may be of interest as many believe that ME may well be an autoimmune condition.)

A research team has discovered the process -- and filmed the actual moment -- that can change the body's response to a dying cell

Date: February 22, 2018

Source: Monash University

Summary: A research team has discovered the process -- and filmed the actual moment -- that can change the body's response to a dying cell. Importantly, what they call the 'Great Escape' moment may one day prove to be the crucial trigger for autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

Full Story

A research team has discovered the process - and filmed the actual moment - that can change the body's response to a dying cell. Importantly, what they call the 'Great Escape' moment may one day prove to be the crucial trigger for autoimmune diseases like arthritis.

The research team, led by Professor Benjamin Kile from Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), has discovered - and filmed - the exact moment when DNA escapes out of the mitochondria (the organelles inside cells that produce energy) during cell death. The study, published today in the journal Science, involved major collaborators from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in the US.

Mitochondria are the ultimate double agent; they are essential to keep cells alive, but when damaged, they can trigger the body's own immune system with potentially devastating consequences. Because the DNA inside mitochondria (mtDNA) has many similarities with bacterial DNA (they share common ancestry), the body reacts to its presence outside the mitochondria, or indeed, outside the cell, as if under attack from invading pathogens. It is a similar failure to distinguish 'self' from 'non-self' that underlies inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

While the release of mtDNA is thought to contribute to autoimmune diseases such as lupus, how it escapes from the mitochondria has never been explained. Monash BDI researcher Dr Kate McArthur, while completing her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, used a revolutionary new microscope at the Janelia Research Campus in the US to capture the moment when mitochondria form a 'hernia' that balloons out of the mitochondria expelling the DNA into the rest of the cell.

The live-cell lattice light-sheet microscopy (LLSM) system developed by Nobel Prize winner Eric Betzig is a new technique that allows scientists to observe living cells at groundbreaking resolution. Dr McArthur travelled to the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia multiple times between 2015-2017, and remembers the moment when she witnessed, for the first time, the mitochondria actively expelling its DNA.

"As scientists, we are taught to be quite sceptical when we see something unexpected, so I think my initial reaction was 'no way...'

"It was only after I had carefully repeated the experiment many times that I began to realise what we had found," Dr McArthur said.

According to Professor Kile, when a cell commits suicide (a normal part of the human body's balancing act to control blood cell numbers), two proteins called BAK and BAX are triggered.

"What we witnessed - in real time - was these professional killer proteins opening up huge 'macropores' in the outer membrane of the mitochondria, leading the inner contents to herniate out, bringing the mtDNA with it," Professor Kile said.

"BAK and BAX deliver the 'kill shot' designed to permanently disable the cell. But in doing that, mtDNA is lost from the mitochondria. In essence, this is collateral damage, which, if it isn't controlled properly, triggers the immune system to drive pathological inflammation," he said.

The discovery was cemented by images captured by Monash University's Titan Krios cryo-electron microscope, currently the most advanced microscope for biological electron microscopy, and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's new lattice light-sheet microscope, custom built by collaborators in the Institute's Centre for Dynamic Imaging.

Professor Kile stressed that, in research, "fundamental discoveries such as this are rare, and this one has profound implications for the understanding of a wide range of autoimmune diseases and infections.

"This has been a brilliant collaboration - between Monash's Biomedicine Discovery Institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research here in Melbourne and the Janelia Research Campus in the US - which has brought together cutting-edge technologies and first-class expertise to address questions that before now, had never been asked, and would have been impossible to answer," he said.

Higher prevalence of ‘low T3 syndrome’ in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: A case-control study

(This very much fits in with the research showing that ME is a hypometabolic disease e.g, the research at Stanford University, California.)

Begoña Ruiz-Núñez 1, 2*, Rabab Tarasse 1, Emar Vogelaar 3, Janneke Dijck-Brouwer 1 and Frits Muskiet 1

1 Laboratory Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands
2 Healthy Institute, Spain
3 European Laboratory of Nutriënts (ELN), Netherlands

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a heterogeneous disease with unknown cause(s). CFS symptoms resemble a hypothyroid state, possibly secondary to chronic (low-grade) (metabolic) inflammation. We studied 98 CFS patients (21-69 years, 21 males) and 99 age- and sex-matched controls (19-65 years, 23 males). We measured parameters of thyroid function, (metabolic) inflammation, gut wall integrity and nutrients influencing thyroid function and/or inflammation. Most remarkably, CFS patients exhibited similar TSH, but lower FT3 (difference of medians 0.1%), TT4 (11.9%), TT3 (12.5%), %TT3 (4.7%), SPINA-GD (14.4%), SPINA-GT (14.9%), 24-hour urinary iodine (27.6%) and higher %rT3 (13.3%). FT3 below the reference range, consistent with the 'low T3 syndrome', was found in 16/98 CFS patients vs. 7/99 controls (OR 2.56; 95% CI=1.00 - 6.54). Most observations persisted in two sensitivity analyses with more stringent cut-off values for BMI, hsCRP and WBC. We found possible evidence of (chronic) low-grade metabolic inflammation (ferritin and HDL-C). FT3, TT3, TT4 and rT3 correlated positively with hsCRP in CFS patients and all subjects. TT3 and TT4 were positively related to hsCRP in controls. Low circulating T3 and the apparent shift from T3 to rT3 may reflect more severely depressed tissue T3 levels. The present findings might be in line with recent metabolomic studies pointing at a hypometabolic state. They resemble a mild form of 'non thyroidal illness syndrome' and 'low T3 syndrome' experienced by a subgroup of hypothyroid patients receiving T4 monotherapy. Our study needs confirmation and extension by others. If confirmed, trials with e.g. T3 and iodide supplements might be indicated.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Government-funded ME/CFS trial ‘one of greatest medical scandals of 21st century’

From the ME Association website –

Government-funded ME/CFS trial ‘one of greatest medical scandals of 21st century’ | 20 February 2018

A controversial medical trial part-funded by the Department of Work of Pensions will emerge as “one of the greatest medical scandals of the 21st century” an MP today claimed.

A trial which claimed exercise helped the estimated 250,000 sufferers of the devastating illness, M.E., (myalgic encephalomyelitis) to recover was deliberately flawed to “remove people from long-term benefits and reduce the welfare bill”, a parliamentary debate heard.

Manifesting as unrelenting fatigue and profound pain, the condition, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, has no known cure and is made worse by exertion.

Sufferers are often confined to their beds, unable to walk, and need help even to shower – an action that could then lay them low for hours, days, weeks or longer.

More than just bad science

When the PACE trial was published in 2011, researchers claimed that graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) were “moderately effective” forms of treatment.

But the trial has faced intense criticism from patients, charities – such as the ME Association – clinicians and researchers, over how the results were obtained, analysed and presented.

After a long legal battle, unpublished data from the trial was released and, when independently analysed, it showed no difference between the different treatments being tested and that reported recovery rates had been grossly inflated.

And in surveys carried out by the ME Association, more than half of patients who had followed the recommended graded exercise programme saw a worsening in their symptoms.

Carol Monaghan, the SNP MP for Glasgow North West, worked with the ME Association to hold the debate in Westminster Hall today, and had received nearly one thousand letters and emails from people affected by the condition.

She said: “The failure of PACE… could simply be put down to bad science. But unfortunately, I believe there is far more to this.

“One wonders why the DWP would fund such a trial, unless of course it was seen as a way of removing people on long-term benefits and reducing the welfare bill.”

Westminster Hall heard how people with M.E. struggle to obtain benefits because of treatment guidelines, which wrongly suggest that exercise can lead to recovery.

Former science teacher Ms Monaghan also told how a lack of medical education was leading to late and inaccurate diagnosis – along with absent, inappropriate or even harmful management advice – and that the M.E. field was plagued by a “woeful lack of research”.

She said: “Labels such as chronic fatigue syndrome and post-viral fatigue syndrome simply do not come close to the living hell experienced by many sufferers. A living hell made worse by a lack of understanding towards those seeking help.”

Complete rethink required

Speaking after the debate, the MP said: “The PACE trial was fundamentally flawed as it worked from the assumption that M.E. is a psychological condition.

“To describe somebody with M.E. as suffering from ‘fatigue’ is a gross misrepresentation of the symptoms they experience: debilitating muscle pain, excruciating headaches and exhaustion so severe that some sufferers cannot even chew solid food; is the reality for a person with M.E.

“There has to be a complete rethink of the medical advice given to sufferers of M.E. as even gentle exercise can set them back for weeks and, in some cases, months.

“However, unfortunately for many this is still the advice being offered. Discovering that the PACE trial was funded by the DWP, no doubt with the intention to reduce the amount of people on benefits, should cause great concern.

“As a scientist, I am appalled by the methods used in the trial, which included changing the parameters and success criteria midway through the study. This has been widely discredited in the research community.

“I hope that this debate will be the starting point for new medical advice and guidelines for people suffering from ME. I thank all of those who have taken the time to get in touch with me regarding their personal experiences of both living with M.E. and the PACE trial.”

Listen to what patients have to say

A spokesman for the ME Association, which campaigns for more awareness into the condition, said:

“It is vital the voice of M.E. patients is heard, and we are grateful that their plight, and the flawed PACE trial, has been raised today.

“Many of our members are housebound or bedbound and we cannot allow them to be forgotten about by society.

“Many have seen a worsening in their symptoms after undergoing CBT and GET and it is vital that this advice is no longer given out by medical professionals.

“M.E. patients are not hypochondriacs, hysterical or lazy – they are afflicted with a condition that is devastating and life-changing.”

The PACE trial data was used justify NHS recommendations of exercise and cognitive behaviour therapy and no changes were made as a result.

But a patient revolt has forced the government and NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to review the guidelines used by UK doctors. That review may not be completed before 2020.

An ME Association spokesman added: “We hope that NICE and the NHS will continue to listen to patients and adopt only practices that can truly help people with M.E.”

The government said it wants to put patients at the forefront of any new guideline and said it welcomed high-quality medical research applications into M.E.

For more information about M.E., visit For press enquiries, contact 07598032845.

For enquiries to Carol Monaghan MP, email

To watch the recording of today’s debate at Westminster Hall, visit – it was heard from 11.00-11.30am.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Infection Elicited Autoimmunity and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: An Explanatory Model

Jonas Blomberg 1*,  Carl-Gerhard Gottfries 2,  Amal Elfaitouri 3,  Muhammad Rizwan 1 and Anders Rosén 4

1 Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Clinical Microbiology, Academic Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden

2 Gottfries Clinic AB, Mölndal, Sweden

3 Department of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Public Health, Benghazi University, Benghazi, Libya

4 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Cell Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) often also called chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a common, debilitating, disease of unknown origin. Although a subject of controversy and a considerable scientific literature, we think that a solid understanding of ME/CFS pathogenesis is emerging. In this study, we compiled recent findings and placed them in the context of the clinical picture and natural history of the disease. A pattern emerged, giving rise to an explanatory model. ME/CFS often starts after or during an infection. A logical explanation is that the infection initiates an autoreactive process, which affects several functions, including brain and energy metabolism. According to our model for ME/CFS pathogenesis, patients with a genetic predisposition and dysbiosis experience a gradual development of B cell clones prone to autoreactivity. Under normal circumstances these B cell offsprings would have led to tolerance. Subsequent exogenous microbial exposition (triggering) can lead to comorbidities such as fibromyalgia, thyroid disorder, and orthostatic hypotension. A decisive infectious trigger may then lead to immunization against autoantigens involved in aerobic energy production and/or hormone receptors and ion channel proteins, producing postexertional malaise and ME/CFS, affecting both muscle and brain. In principle, cloning and sequencing of immunoglobulin variable domains could reveal the evolution of pathogenic clones. Although evidence consistent with the model accumulated in recent years, there are several missing links in it. Hopefully, the hypothesis generates testable propositions that can augment the understanding of the pathogenesis of ME/CFS.

To read the full article, go to –

Thursday, 8 February 2018

He Careth For You

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you – 1 Peter 5:7


Peter wrote his first letter as one who had been with Jesus for those three years on earth, and then saw Him alive after His death and burial. This is, of course what qualified him to be an apostle of Christ: he had seen the risen Lord. Those beautiful words, “Whom having not seen, ye love” (1:8) was not true for him, although they applied to his readers afterwards. However, they became true for Peter and for us all: we view our dear Redeemer by faith, and know Him in heart-experience (Acts 1:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:16; John 14:18). That said, Peter had been one of those who “have heard … seen with our eyes … looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

But he also wrote this as a man who had failed His Master many times. Mostly, it was well-meaning blunders, because his heart was right. It is a comfort to know that the Lord distinguishes between sincerity when we fail, and guilt because of rebellion and disobedience. However, like David, almost Peter’s Old Testament counterpart, the time came when he fell guiltily and grievously. Through a combination of pride, and then cowardice, (Proverbs 16:18), Peter denied his Master, even to oaths and curses (Mark 14:71).

However, through grace, Peter quickly repented (“he went out and wept bitterly” Luke 22:62) and was wonderfully restored. Moreover, our Lord reinstated him to that place of trust as His apostle (“Lovest thou me?” … “Feed my sheep,” John 21:17). This reminds us that when repentance is genuine, it leads all the way back to “from whence thou art fallen” (Revelation 2:5). As Thomas Adams put it, “Sin is so remitted, it is as though it never were committed.” Now, Peter is able to “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32), and his two epistles show him doing this. How blessed to realise that even our sins can be worked together for our good, and by them the Lord brings greater blessing to ourselves and others! As Erskine wisely puts it,

Sin, to do thee good, will work and win,
But ‘tis not good for thee to sin.

Therefore, when the apostle says to his readers, and to us, “… he careth for you,” he does so from personal experience he could never forget. We almost hear him exclaiming, “Oh, how He did that for me!” Truly, Peter, and many others since, have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3).

However, in addition to this, is Peter’s witness to this. He was, “a witness of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 5:1) and one of the “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). But he also saw, while with the Master, how Jesus treated people.

We can find a fuller account of this in Mark’s gospel. It is believed that Peter’s witness lies behind the second gospel. Peter had a close relationship with the younger Mark (Acts 12:12; 1 Peter 5:13). And Papias of Hierapolis (60-130 AD) in his Ecclesiastical History, echoed the common belief that “Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered.” The vivid, fast-moving action in Mark is certainly redolent of Peter’s personality.

Therefore, when Mark’s gospel shows our Lord caring for others, it will be Peter’s recollection of that. The touching examples that follow are worth pondering in the light of our verse, “he careth for you:” Mark 1:30,31; 2:5-12; 4:35-41; 5:36; 6:50; 9:23,24; 10:49; 11:15 notice, “the seats of them that sold doves” – not the tables: He even cares for caged birds; 14:8; 16:7.

We can be sure He is the same now in heaven. Notice the present continuous tense: “careth.” It is not that He used to, or will – but He does – He “careth.” This is the heart of Christ in heaven toward His people on earth. He has a kind interest in us, is attentive to our needs and troubles, and looks after us with wise forethought. The original Greek of our verse can be rendered more literally, “it matters to Him concerning you.”

Let us pursue this, and think about,

1. His Care

“All your care.” That is a small word for a large problem. We all feel care. Modern life seems to create many care-worn, insecure, anxious, and troubled souls – sometimes ourselves among them. Perhaps the year that is past has been particularly so for you.

1] It is a meaningful word.
Merimnah comes from a word which means, “to draw in different directions.” Therefore, it means to be distracted and in a whirl about things. This is typical of what we find. Competing demands, so much requiring our attention, things spiralling out of control. It can get too much for us.

Alternatively, perhaps we do not know what to do regarding something. An important decision has to be made, but it keeps us in suspense and fretfulness.

Or, it may be a deep concern about something. It has become a burden and an anxiety. We feel it’s weight, are bowed down by it; it saps our strength and joy.

As Christians, we take life seriously. Amidst the joys and encouragements are the difficulties and challenges. We cannot be careless and indifferent. The more conscientious we are the more we are liable to bring ourselves down with burdens and cares. For some, it can reach breaking-point. Our Lord’s care for us is always a word in season.

2] The word has a double meaning.
“All your care.” In a good sense, it refers to the legitimate responsibilities of life. We care about our family, work, health, about others’ needs, things that are not right, and so on. For Paul, it was the huge “care of all the churches” (2 Cor.11:28).

However, it also has a dangerous meaning to it. In Mark 4:19 our Lord warns us about “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things.” The thorny ground hearer in the parable of the sower is in danger of cares choking the word and making it unfruitful. Every day cares be as dangerous and riches and lusts. Tragically, for some, this has been the end of their Christian profession. They have become imbittered, cynical, and have given up, and succumbed to the world’s embrace. Therefore, we learn that “all your care” will either take us from Christ or bring us nearer to Christ (John 6:68).

2. Our Casting

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1] Here, there is Someone to whom we can go.
“Your care upon him.” Who is meant here? We have said it is Jesus, for this looks back to verse 4, about the Chief Shephard rewarding His under-shepherds. However, its antecedent could be God the Father, whom Peter mentions in verses 5,6. If that is so, we should notice in these verses the connection between humble submission and our being relieved of care. To “humble (ourselves) under the mighty hand of God” is the best place from which to cast our care upon Him. A humble spirit is before God, acknowledging Him, conscious of His presence continually (Micah 6:8). If sometimes we are not helped with our cares, is it because of pride: we try to manage things ourselves, we fail to acknowledge the Lord, we are prayerless?

2] Let us also beware of an unbecoming spirit.
Martha, in the midst of her care, spoke impatiently to the Lord, “dost thou not care that my sister hath left me alone? bid her therefore that she help me.” Clearly circumstances have overwhelmed her, and she is hasty, critical and presumptuous. How far this is from being under God’s hand! It is as if she is all alone, yet the Lord is right there. His gracious reply reveals the cause of her trouble: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful” (Luke 10:41,42). He says in effect, “Martha, I do care – but your care is wrong and unnecessary; you have forgotten Me and tried to manage things yourself.” To remember that He is always there is the beginning of victory.

A similar example is when the disciples were in the boat in the storm. Our Lord was in the same boat, and when it began to rock and fill with water, they panicked, woke Him and cried, “Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40). How could they drown when the Son of God was with them? And how could they doubt His care? The problem was their faith was not in exercise: they saw and felt the storm but forgot the Master! Let us of doing the same.

3] This involves calm, deliberate prayer.
“Casting … your care upon Him.” When we tell the Lord about it (even in short, mental prayer, Nehemiah 2:4,5) is like offloading the care onto Him. “Casting” is the same word for when, before our Lord’s triumphal ride into Jerusalem, “they cast their garments upon the colt” (Luke 19:35). Their other garments felt lighter because divested of their outer ones. They no longer felt them – they were on the colt instead. Let us do that with our “care.” Prayerfully tell Him about it, put it into His hands, trust Him to deal with it. Believe that it is His responsibility more than yours, and expect the Lord to come in for you.

David bids us do the same in Psalm 37, where he cautions us against fretfulness, and envy of others who seem carefree (verse 1). And even from anger and being tempted to evil (verse 8). And the remedy? “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him…” (verse 5). The word is literally “roll thy way upon the LORD” (margin). When something is too heavy for us, and we roll it upon something or someone that can bear it, we are relieved and free of it. It is a blessed lightness and joy that comes instead. As Doddridge said,

I’ll drop my burden at His feet
And bear a song away.

4] Nothing is excluded.
“Casting all your care upon him.” We tend to do this with the major things in life, but not with the more every day, minor matters – yet they are the ones that often defeat us. Yet, that lost item, that decision, that phone that is ringing, finding a parking place, the wisdom needed and so on. What does it not cover for an exercised Christian?

5] It brings peace to our heart.
“Upon him” – we can see it now as His concern and responsibility. We can look forward to seeing what He will do for us.

Remember then, that “he careth for you.” Believe that He is there with you, always (Matthew 28:20). Pray, and give your care to Him, and know the comfort of His care for you. Be like Ruth (3:18) and “sit still … until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”

All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the Mercy Seat, leave it there,
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a Friend like Jesus!

6] A remaining problem is when we think about it again.
Satan will bring it back and make us “careful” again (Philippians 4:6). How often we have found peace, only to lose it soon afterwards! We lay it down at His feet, and then seem to pick it up again. The remedy here is to repeat the process of casting it upon Him by prayer. If it comes back, pray again – and again – and again. Eventually, the devil will realise that he is only sending you to the Lord and give up! You will then have the victory. Only do not give up before he does!

by Rev. John Thackway, Pastor of Holywell Evangelical Church

Used with kind permission of the author