Sometimes we hear words, can grasp what they say---but do not fully KNOW the real truth behind how they apply to our personal life. The same could be said about "take up your cross and follow me." Just what was Jesus really implying in that call. And just how do these two statements connect?
Jesus we are told when dying on the cross---took upon Himself ALL the SINS of mankind from the beginning to the end of time as we know it. ALL of our sins---oh how he must have suffered with all that within His being. The physical pain was nothing compared to the inner sorrow He felt as He saw/knew/and experienced all that SIN does to a human being. He experienced what not just one human being does when sinned against-- BUT ALL humans that come into the world for all of time. What you or I feel from our mistakes or what others do to hurt us is just a tiny pin prick compared to all the pain mankind has felt.
How does this connect to our taking up the cross, and our dying to self out of love for another?
Last night I went through some DEEP ANGER, GRIEVING, CRYING well strong emotions and did not really know why? One question I knew I was dealing with was this. Is there a chance I have cancer? Why, am I subconsciously thinking 'I hope I do?" Weird huh. Let me continue.
As I dealt with the emotions amongst the tears, looking at myself in the mirror----the truth came to the surface. I was harboring some slow burning resentment about living my life the way I was raised---responsible, dutiful, steadfast wife, mother, and handmaiden of the Lord---but somehow my dreams/plans/hopes did not turn out the WAY I THOUGHT THEY SHOULD!! As I age, I get more angrier or grieve over these lost dreams and hopes. These feeling are even stronger as more creativity and talents produce more 'babies' in my art and writing. So, essentially a part of me was being rebellious child--defiant--deciding "ain't gonna do what you tell me."
"Why bother, Lord, when everything I do, produce, suggest---just does not seem to go anywhere?" Books, Art and now Note Cards---why do You lead me to do things when the end result is here, there---but not EVERYWHERE--if ya'll get my drift.
This "why bother attitude" starts to effect your daily life too--why bother with dieting, exercising, and doing the best you can to be healthy and live that proverb's wife life?
Now, my friends---when you feel the same way I do and I KNOW YOU DO---know that nonsense stinking thinking is devil talking!!
This is when you be still and know, you pray and seek God's wisdom and answers to WHY? We all wonder 'why' our life sometimes is hurtful and disappointing.
How else can we be an effective witness for Christ unless we experience Christ in all of our life? How else can we 'suffer/die for others or take up the crosses--if first there were no suffering or cross to take up? We are all human and share the common human feelings and emotions and the effects of sin upon our bodies and spirit. How can we be that Light to lead others to hope and comfort? How can we give them the words, the love needed that will pull them out of the deepest darkness they are in? There is no other way but to say "I understand" or "I can relate". By the grace of God, I received all the gifts that gave me the help I needed when I too walked your walk.
We can never tell another of the awesome mercy of God unless we have experienced that mercy, forgiveness and deliverance from all of our pains and sorrows. We can never share how we exchanged those tears for peace and joy again. We can never tell them that before the rainbow first is a storm, or, before the miracles first is the terrible desperation of need of a miracle. With confidence that comes from the knowing, we can say before the daybreak, the beautiful sunrise---there is the darkest of nights-especially if clouds hide even the flickering star lights.
I am ---you are the gift that we are to each other because of all the ways that we have been 'wrapped' in compassion, mercy and love.
Let us not despair---let us know that we are first a seed in the cold dark ground that is dying as it come forth to the LIGHT.