Author: Kristi Wile
Do you ever wonder what it means to carry your cross? We know what it meant for Jesus. We do not expect to die in a manner like He did. Jesus told us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. But how?
In my 4th year as a nursing student, we worked in the hospital taking care of patients. One time we got our assignments for the next day’s work and I was given 3 patients instead of the usual 2. There was a great deal of work involved in looking up each patient’s diagnoses, all their medications, the usual treatments, and then making a careplan for each one. It was absolutely not my favorite thing to do. And I felt truly mistreated by being given an extra heavy workload. So I went to my nursing instructor to complain and state my case and show how unfair this was. She heard me out, and then took a deep breath before she said, “Well, we thought that you could handle it.”
Suddenly I had a different perspective. The instructors had been watching me and had determined that I could handle the extra work. They wanted to push me, to stretch me, to grow me. It was meant for my good though it felt like a punishment.
We are not used to looking at the difficult things in our lives (our crosses) as intended for our glory. We don’t think of the hardships as God’s way of stretching and growing us, maturing our faith, and transforming us into the image of Christ.
We usually complain and get angry at God for not keeping our lives smooth and safe. We don’t face trials and painful situations as an opportunity to draw nearer to our Savior, to lean further into Him and his loving care for us. We think we know better than He does what we need.
We need an adjustment in our thinking and a new perspective. Jesus walked willingly to his cross. The very event by which Jesus was lifted up in horrible disgrace and shame was that for which He is praised for by everyone whose sins He has forgiven. The glory came in full when He triumphed over death and the grave. If we are going to walk as Jesus did, we need to willingly carry our cross as well. And the glory will come with the triumph God brings on the other side of that hardship or trial, be it growth in our faith, the winning of other souls to Christ, the encouragement of other believers, or crossing heaven’s threshold.