Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NIV
He said something very simliar in Mark…Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34 NIV
But in Luke he changed it slightly. Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV
These three verses are similar yet different. Do you see the difference? Matthew and Mark tell us that to be a disciple of Christ, we must take up our cross. Luke tells us we must take up our cross DAILY.
Our crosses look vastly different. My cross is different from yours and yours is different from someone else. There are as many types of crosses to bear as there are people in this world.
For some, the cross might be caring for a special needs child or an elderly parent. Maybe something changed in your life and now you are faced with a daily situation you don’t want, never dreamed of and wish you could change. But you can’t. That might be your cross. Maybe you have lost a dream, a child, a spouse or a friend. Your cross is heavy and hard to carry and you certainly don’t want it.
But our crosses are given to us by God. He designed this world a very long time ago knowing exactly what Mary Bonner’s cross would be in 2016 and he knew what your cross would be too.
Love looks like bearing our cross with grace and dignity. Love looks like asking others for help. We don’t have to carry our cross alone. I know people that bear their crosses with a grace and dignity that I admire and the cross they carry is a heavy one.
We were told we would have trouble here on earth. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
But we don’t have to linger and stay in that trouble. We can rise up and take heart and remember he has overcome the world! When Amy died in 1992 I thought my world would end, but it didn’t. I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Eventually, two years later, I sought professional help to learn to deal with my grief and how to move on. I had to learn how to live my life without her. Probably a year or so later I accepted that my life was the way it was by God’s design. I didn’t have to like it, but I could not change it. More children would not replace her and that wasn’t an option. My immediate family would consist of my husband, my one living child and me. Not like I envisioned growing up and not like I thought it would be when I got married, but that is what it was. There is a peace that comes with acceptance and I finally said thank you. I thanked God for the life he gave me, for the family I had and I accepted that this was his plan and his design. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was hard and painful and MANY tears were shed. But I learned to accept that his plan and his ways are not mine, they don’t look like mine and but they are SO MUCH better than mine in the long run.
That does not mean I am glad Amy is gone, it just means that my life is what it is by his design and I’ve decided to accept it and move on. Please know that acceptance did not come easily or quickly, but that is a post for another day.
Question for you – if you are struggling with your cross, have you considered accepting it as part of God’s divine plan? If so, has that changed the way you view your cross?