Cross Carrying

“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)

Many years ago, I faced one of those heart rending experiences that many of us face during our lifetimes.  I know I’m not unique in that, but I remember the searing pain of that wound.  I’m sure at some level I may have questioned or wanted to question GOD about why this happened.  I don’t remember doing that, but I suspect I did.  It took a while, but my heart healed and life went on.

It was several years after that event that I was sitting in my office at work (I was doing HR work in a medium sized company then) and a co-worker came to my door wanting to talk.  He knew nothing about my trouble.  When he sat down, his opening words were something to the effect, “I don’t know why, but I feel like I can talk to you about this.”  He went on to describe a pain rooted in a set of circumstances which were nearly identical to what I had experienced.”  In a flash, I saw the hand of GOD at work, and I had to chuckle to myself.  It was then that I began to see this passage from Matthew in a new light.  The kind of cross beam Jesus carried was rough-hewn and heavy.  It was His burden to carry all the way to Calvary.  He did that for us.

In a very real way, the cross was/is a means of GOD’s grace (favor) to us.  I was reminded of this a few minutes ago as a result of a conversation with someone else.  There is a Hebrew word hesed (alternative: chesed) which means the eternal kindness of GOD that is revealed in mercy.  I recall reading someone many years ago who gave it this loose translation: Mercy that is given because the giver has stood in the shoes of one in need.

Jesus stood in my shoes…and yours, which I believe was the Father’s intent.  We needed and continue to need GOD’s mercy.  His mercy is not from a distance; it is up close and personal because Jesus knows our hurts, our disappointments, our suffering through His own…and He knows our offenses and our failures.  Jesus stood in my shoes, and I believe GOD sent that man to my office that day because I had stood in his.  It was my opportunity to pay grace forward by offering an ear, by listening to his hurt, by not judging him, by trying to encourage him and challenging him to not lose hope, and to turn his eyes upon Jesus.

Following Jesus, at times, means taking up the weight of what we carry, as difficult as that may be, and bearing it in faith and with grace.  Sometimes GOD will use the cross we are bearing to bless someone else who needs to experience His love, just like we were blessed and loved by the cross of Jesus.

By the way, about a year after my encounter with my co-worker, GOD sent someone else to me who had the same issue. Sometimes standing in the shoes of another is how we can love our neighbor as our self, which is our cross to bear.

 

© Byron L. Hannon, 2020.  All rights reserved unless to original text content.

It was several years after that event that I was sitting in my office at work (I was doing HR work in a medium sized company then) and a co-worker came to my door wanting to talk.  He knew nothing about my trouble.  When he sat down, his opening words were something to the effect, “I don’t know why, but I feel like I can talk to you about this.”  He went on to describe a pain rooted in a set of circumstances which were nearly identical to what I had experienced.”  In a flash, I saw the hand of GOD at work, and I had to chuckle to myself.  It was then that I began to see this passage from Matthew in a new light.  The kind of cross beam Jesus carried was rough-hewn and heavy.  It was His burden to carry all the way to Calvary.  He did that for us.

In a very real way, the cross was/is a means of GOD’s grace (favor) to us.  I was reminded of this a few minutes ago as a result of a conversation with someone else.  There is a Hebrew word hesed (alternative: chesed) which means the eternal kindness of GOD that is revealed in mercy.  I recall reading someone many years ago who gave it this loose translation: Mercy that is given because the giver has stood in the shoes of one in need.

Jesus stood in my shoes…and yours, which I believe was the Father’s intent.  His mercy is not from a distance; it is up close and personal because Jesus knows our hurts, our disappointments, our suffering through His own.  Jesus stood in my shoes, and I believe GOD sent that man to my office that day because I had stood in his.  It was my opportunity to pay grace forward by offering an ear, by listening to his hurt, by not judging him, by trying to encourage him and challenging him to not lose hope.

Following Jesus, at times, means taking up the weight of what we carry, bearing it in faith and with grace.  Sometimes GOD will use the cross we are bearing to bless someone else just like we were blessed by the cross of Jesus.

By the way, about a year after my encounter with my co-worker, GOD sent someone else to me who had the same issue. Sometimes standing in the shoes of another is how we can love our neighbor as our self, which is our cross to bear.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2020.  All rights reserved unless to original text content.

3 thoughts on “Cross Carrying

  1. Gladious B Simmons

    Thank you for sharing a very timely message. It coincides with our Sunday School lesson with focus on Luke 9:23. I have been prayerfully considering what it means to deny myself & take up my cross and follow Christ daily.

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    Reply

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