Learning To Carry Our Own Cross

 

I

 wonder how many hours each of us spends during a lifetime complaining about the cross we have to carry. It is so easy to feel that the world is framing us, and that only the extreme cases of the world have it more difficult. It is true that burdens or crosses vary in weight and number, but in too many cases we are merely seeking a life without a cross. But please remember, when we give up the burdens, we give up following our Lord. It is impossible to follow Christ without carrying the weight of our cross.

 

            Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me’ ” (Matthew 16:24).

 

            Surely we must all agree that it takes energy to carry our burdens, and at times we feel that we cannot possibly go any farther down the road. Nevertheless, if we could learn that complaining and becoming dissatisfied requires energy, and give all our strength to cross bearing, our burdens would become easier.

 

            In one of the volumes of “Great Texts of the Bible,” the author sums up the  poem, “The Changed Cross,” in these words:

 

            “This poem represents a weary one who thought that her cross was surely heavier than others of whom she knew. And she wished that she might choose another instead of her own. She slept, and in her dream she was led to a place where many crosses lay—crosses of different shapes and sizes. There was a little one most beautiful to behold, set in jewels and gold.

 

            “Ah, this I can wear with comfort,” she said. So she took it up, but her weak form shook beneath it. The jewels and the gold were beautiful, but they were far too heavy for her. She lifted it, but beneath the flowers were piercing thorns, which tore her flesh. At last, as she went on, she came to a plain cross, without jewels, without carving, with only a few words of love inscribed upon it. This she took up, and it proved the best of all, the easiest to be born. And as she looked upon it, bathed in the radiance that fell from heaven, she recognized her own old cross. She had found it again, and it was the best of all and lightest for her.”

 

            Even though we must carry our own burdens, the faithful Christian has God, along with brothers and sisters in Christ to help.

 

            Keep in mind this promise: “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ “ (Hebrews 13:6).

 

            Paul called upon the Galatian Christians to “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

 

            May God help all of us to learn to carry our own crosses, while allowing God and others to help!  —BBBristow