Not too long ago, I heard the question: how do you choose to carry your personal cross? Below is my reflection on it.
Some people carry their cross straight like Jesus did and others carrier it sideways. If you carry your cross like Jesus did, you will carry it with faith, hope, and love. The opposite is true if you carry your cross sideways.
Faith – When you carry your cross straight, you know your trails are moments to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” without whom you cannot persevere; occasions to “cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Our faith resembles Abraham’s: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he has promised.” (Romans 4:20-21).
Hope – When we carry our cross straight, we know that our “affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5).
Love – When we carry our cross straight, we “do all things without grumbling or questioning” so that we “may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom” we “shine like lights in the world.” (Philippians 2: 14-15)
When we carry our cross sideways, our faith is lacking. We become powerless victims of life’s circumstances and began to think God is merciless. Nothing makes sense to us. Instead of seeking God, we run away from him. We seek to overcome our pain with drugs, alcohol, pleasures and anything that keeps us away from dealing with our trials. We question why we have our cross in the first place. When we carry our cross sideways, we may bump into or disturb other people with our cross. It becomes their cross. Our pain becomes their pain. Our cross can even become a vessel of hate, vengeance, and resentfulness.
There is but one way to carry our cross: straight like Jesus did. However, this does not mean that it is easy or painless, or frustrating. Nor does it mean that we are not going to fall and sometimes even carry it sideways; we are human; we are imperfect.
For many years, I carried my cross sideways; I have experienced, firsthand, the consequences of doing so. Yet, I can also testify that if we persevere and pray to God to bless us with the grace of faith, hope, and love, we can straighten our cross and stand up when we fail. We should welcome help in carrying our cross like Jesus did on his way to Calvary. More importantly, we can be inspired to act like Simon of Cyrene and help all those whose cross has become too heavy for them to carry alone.
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