Crosses Carried, Burdens Borne
Isn’t it mind-boggling to know that part of Jesus’ cruel punishment was to lug that heavy, splintery cross with him through the streets and up the hill to his crucifixion? It’s bad enough to die on a cross, much less carry it with us and THEN be spiked to it.
It seems that as often as not, instead of instant deliverance from some struggles we encounter, we have to “carry” them a while. There are some things I’ve lugged along for years, longing to be free from; and yet, when I pray for an instant lifting, I get the same response from God as did the Apostle Paul concerning his “thorn in the flesh.” Our Father says to me, “My grace is sufficient.” I’m still trying to grasp the mindset of delighting in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, though…but the Word declares that when we are weak, we are strong! (2 Cor. 12:9-10) God is not going to allow those weak areas of my life to utterly rob me of my right standing with Him, but He does require that I persevere. He says to me, “You can trust me not to let you go under. I will never let go of you, Daughter.” It inspires me to keep moving forward without quitting. It also makes this gal far less judgmental toward others whose splinter-in-the-eye looks so much smaller to me than my beam. There will always be endless speculation among believers and non, about whether this one or that one made it to Heaven in spite of a certain problem which plagued that person in his or her life. While I know that God’s grace is not a license to just live a defeated, backslidden, shameful lifestyle, I don’t spend a lot of time concerning myself with who did or did not complete the course or keep the faith. I’m satisfied to know that God is a good keeper…period. If He has said to someone, instead of an instant deliverance from difficulty, “My grace is sufficient,” then who am I to come along and add a disclaimer? Jesus carried His cross faithfully, to a dreadful place of execution, but when He gave His life, the cross was left behind right there. He has never again had to go back and redo it. And because death (and relief from pain) wasn’t instantaneous for Him, He has a compassion for you in YOUR struggle. He knows your agony. He cares. Take comfort today if you’re still stinging from the open wounds that your cross has left on your hands and your back. There will come a day, somewhere down the road, when God will bring it all to an end. It may be tomorrow, and you may the live out the remainder of your life without that weakness. The cross, however, may instead be something that you carry with you to the place of your death…but God will be there. When at last you are delivered, the cross will be but a reference point on the timeline of your life. At one point when Jesus--parched, weak, trembling, suffering Jesus—could continue the pace no longer, He stumbled under the weight of the cross. Simon was pulled from the crowd to help Him bear the weight of it the rest of the way. If and when you come to places where the weight of your problem grinds you into the ground, God will send always have a Simon strategically situated on your road, to pick up your cross and help you carry it. God will whisper your name into the ear of an intercessor. God will not leave you to die on the ground with the work unfinished. And don’t speculate on the finish…in your own life or in the life of someone else. If it should “end” in a way that looks less than triumphant, whether it be cancer, or addiction, or some other malady that plagues the believer right up until his or her dying breath, God’s grace and His resurrection power are the source of the REAL victory. Our job is just to keep on keepin’ on. A better eternity awaits!
“In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.” (Isaiah 10:27 NLT)