The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. “Lord, I can’t go on,” he said. “I have too heavy a cross to bear.”
The Lord replied, “My son, if you can’t bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room, then open that other door and pick out any cross that you wish.”
The young man was filled with relief. “Thank you, Lord,” he sighed, and did what he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large that the tops were not even visible. Then he spotted a tiny cross leaning against the far wall. “I would like this one, Lord,” he whispered.
And the Lord replied, “My son, that’s the cross you just brought in.”
As we trudge along dragging our own personal cross, the weight of it sometimes seems unbearable. Like the man in this story, we may wish to trade for another that is easier to manage, but we usually don’t have to look very far to see someone carrying a much greater burden.
After my husband’s accident, there was a time when he was critical, and the team of doctors were watching for complications which could require immediate brain surgery. During this time, we waited, prayed, and wondered if those complications would occur and how damaging they might be. But even as we waited, I saw other patients and families in the ICU who were suffering so much more. I also knew of families in our hometown who were suffering greatly as well. Our cross seemed heavy, but there were many crosses in that hospital that seemed much larger. During that time and still today as he recovers, God provided all the strength and grace that we needed to get through each day.
Recently my new doctor decided to do some bloodwork to determine exactly what kind of arthritis I have been dealing with for several years. I didn’t think much of it at the time. A few weeks later, my cross suddenly seemed even larger and heavier after a much unexpected diagnosis of Lupus. The pain began years ago but had gradually progressed. There had seemed to be a good explanation for every symptom that had appeared over the last decade, so I never thought much of the possibility that something more could be the cause. Although nothing had changed physically, the emotional weight was immense at first. But God quickly reminded me again that there are many with greater burdens than mine. I know if I walked into The Cross Room I would see that my cross is tiny compared to so many others.
The Cross that we bear may be heavy at times, but it’s ours. I would not trade my or my family’s cross for any other because I know that God has prepared us specifically for these crosses. We aren’t equipped to carry the weight of your cross, just as you haven’t been equipped to carry the weight of ours. Whatever you are going through, whatever struggle you face each day, whether its physical or emotional, God has given you everything you need to carry that cross. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness -2 Corinthians 12:9. Through our difficulties, God’s power can shine!
When you think you have no more strength to carry it, call to Him. He will provide a way whether it be a rest or simply a realization that your cross isn’t nearly as large as you thought. Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you – Psalm 55