When we are facing the cross, it feels like the Lord is far away or that we are being punished. But it’s quite the opposite. The cross is a sign of love, a gift.
I was sitting in the back seat of my friend’s car with his one-year-old son on our way to the beach recently. He got hungry and began to cry. As he cried his mother gave him a small piece of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He didn’t like that. Though he was crying for food, he didn’t like what was being given to him. Basically, he wanted to be filled by didn’t like what he was being fed.
I know for me, I yearn for Christ. Often I ask Him to feed me more of Himself. But when He feeds me suffering (which is another form of Him), I get irritated and try to spit it out. So, I stay hungry, only then I get more irritated until I take it for what it is: the Lord giving me another portion of Himself.
There seems to be no way around it! We can’t escape the cross of Christ. But we can prolong it by trying to avoid it or bypass it. But once I accept it, I see how perfect it is for me to partake in the sufferings of Christ.
“…heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:17-18)
The wonderful thing about the cross and suffering for Christ (by suffering I mean when the Lord is ridding of us things and causing us to be uncomfortable. It can also mean persecution), is that there is glory on the other side of it! “For the joy set before Him He bore the cross.”
So with joy set before us, which is Christ, we bear our cross. What’s being killed on that cross is all the things within us that were never meant to be there. For example, I was never meant to be proud or judgemental, so He kills all the things that He didn’t put there. All things that aren’t Him are being burned with His fire. Not just the bad things but the good as well. If it’s not Christ, it must die.
However, the things within us that are Christ will be resurrected, for Christ resurrected! That’s the glory on the other side, more of Him. Though it may bring us sorrow now, it will bring us joy when we see more of Him. Amen.
Lord, make us joyful and rejoicing when we are dying to ourselves for you. Show us the joy set before us, which is only more of You. Open our eyes to see You, to make the sufferings worth it because you are worth it. Amen.