There are many types of crosses in the world; those we see, and those we carry. We see them everywhere. They come in every size and variety. Giant ones tower over cities, while small ones are worn on necklaces. In addition to seeing crosses, we each carry one. There are as many different crosses as there are people in the world. What is your cross? Jesus embraced His cross. Do we embrace ours? Please read more.
Airbnb and VRBO popularized the idea of renting out one’s personal home for another person’s short-term rental. This concept has spilled over to recreational vehicles and boats. We all seem anxious to allow someone else to rent our stuff and we are comfortable renting theirs.
From a spiritual perspective, wouldn’t it be nice if there was something called CRBO, or Cross Rental By Owner. It would allow someone else to try our cross on for size and we could try theirs. Afterall, it has been said that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.
Each of our crosses are constructed of two beams. One beam comes from our inner sins and brokenness. The other beam is made up of the wounds, pains, grief, and heartaches heaped on us by the broken world. The resulting combination of the two beams gives each person a very unique cross.
Jesus stumbled under the weight of His cross. We often stumble under ours too. At times, other people’s crosses appear lighter and easier to carry than our own. Unfortunately, we can’t exchange crosses.
When Pilate and the Roman soldiers thrust a cross upon Jesus, He did not curse them for doing so. The cross itself was neither bad nor good. Jesus made it good! Jesus chose to use the cross as an instrument of redemption rather than allowing His tormentors to use it as an instrument of destruction and death. Through His response to the cross, mankind was saved.
Suffering and death are part of the human experience. We must each bear the weight of our cross along with all the suffering it brings. Try as we may, we cannot eradicate all of our own defects and shortcomings. None of us are immune from the pains of this earthly existence. These things, combined together, add weight to our cross.
We strive to live in the footsteps of our Savior through acts of kindness, patience, and love, but we often fall short and respond in anger, impatience, and hate. We strive to live virtuous lives, but yet give in to envy, lust, and boastfulness. Impacted by our sinfulness and the scars of life, we become tempted to curse our cross. Doing so, only leads to despair.
Looking at the crucifixion with the proper perspective, we see that it really wasn’t Pilate, nor the Roman soldiers, who thrust the cross on His shoulders. No, it was Jesus’ free response to do the will of His Heavenly Father that caused Him to embrace the cross. The weight of His cross was caused by the sins of our humanity. That same humanity results in the weight of our own cross. Like Jesus, its how we respond to our cross that really matters.
Jesus embraced His humanity and all that pain that came with it. Will we also embrace our humanity and the pain that comes with it? When we attempt to resist, deny, or despise our cross, we become bitter and filled with resentment. Through wisdom and grace, we must learn to endure our cross and triumph over it.
Luke 14:27 states, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:7 “Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.”
Yes, we each have our unique cross and thorn. In Romans 5:3-5 Paul states, “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
There is no such thing as Cross Rental By Owner. We are stuck with the cross and thorns we have. Paul begged the Lord three times to remove his thorn. Have you begged God to remove your cross or your thorn? I did for many years before discovering that God had been shaping me through my cross to prepare me for the work He had chosen for me in this ministry.
Ultimately Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that the Lord told him “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”
It is only through heartache and pain, that we eventually discover the wisdom to say, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints in my life.” Therefore, like Christ, let’s learn to embrace the cross we have been given. For when we are weak, then we are strong!
Heavenly Father, please give me the courage and strength to carry my cross. Although I may stumble, I desire to embrace my cross like Jesus did and carry it until one day I am united with you in paradise. Amen!
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I want to welcome everyone who recently signed up for 4th Day Letters at the Blessed, Broken and Scared retreat in Ithaca, NY. Everybody who attended the retreat made my wife and I feel at home in your community. We extend a special thanks to our gracious hosts, Dan and Margaret, for their hospitality. Feel free to write to me and share your thoughts about the retreat.
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