We do not need to search for struggles. They seemingly find us, every day. It can feel like an unbearable weight. We are often stuck thinking, “AGAIN?!” This can take away our joy. But Jesus told us we would have struggles. He tells us to “take up [our] cross daily and follow [Him].” [Luke 9:23] But why do these struggles take away our joy that Jesus promised us?
Jesus did promise us “no one will take your joy away from you.” [John 16:22] Our joy is founded in Jesus and what He has done to save us. Indeed, this joy is one that no one can take away from us. We can, however, not accept this joy. In a sense, we take it from ourselves. Jesus had a joy that no one could take away from Him in the midst of His Suffering. A joy knowing the good His Suffering was doing for us, the object of His Love.
And that is precisely what we need to do with our sufferings. We need to offer them up for something good. Something or someone we love. Not only that, but we can unite our sufferings, even though they pale in comparison, to Jesus’ Suffering. When we do, the love with which we bear our sufferings is magnified to the love that Jesus bore His Sufferings. Then, they can do so much more than if we offered them by ourselves.
Does it sound far-fetched? Try it and notice how you bear your sufferings with greater grace and notice how much more good your sufferings accomplish. After all, a love that “bears all things” [1 Corinthians 13:7] can change the world.
Jesus, thank you for bearing the Cross for me. Help me to bear my cross daily with grace and to unite my sufferings to Your immense Suffering. Amen.