Life isn’t fair. People aren’t fair. Life is hard and people can be mean, they can be violent, they can be abusive and they can be liars. People, even those who proclaim “I’m a Christian,” can be manipulative, degrading, destructive and self-centered. These facts are pretty much common knowledge to anyone who pays attention, so….what? These facts are just facts until you are the recipient of unfair treatment or hurtful situations. When you are personally effected by unfair treatment or hurt, these mere facts become living monsters that seem to seek out the destruction for what you have, where you’re headed and even who you are as a person. No holds barred and taking no prisoners, the anger, bitterness and stench of lies seems to follow you wherever you go. You can’t seem to shake it. It just will not go away.
I’d love to sit here and write how you can go to the cross of Jesus and “shake off” or “lay down” your problems, your unfair and hurtful treatment, but I don’t think that’s the answer. I’m not saying don’t go to the cross and lay it down. I’m saying perhaps your burden of unfair persecution is something you carry to the cross and then pick it back up when you leave. I’m saying perhaps your burden of unfair treatment or accusation is not something that you are supposed to “shake off.” I’m saying perhaps you should carry that weight, that pain, that unfair treatment, that persecution until God Himself removes it from you. You and I have the tendency to willingly and tenaciously run away from pain and into the arms of pleasure or less pain. It seems like the “normal” or even the right and smart thing to do, but is it? We only need to look at Jesus’ example, which should be our example, to find out how we are to deal with unfair persecution and pain.
Many times and any time during Jesus’ torture and crucifixion, He could have called it all off. He did not have to carry that cross one more step, not one more step. He could’ve laid it down before the throne of God the Father and been done with it. He could have called legions of angels to wipe out the murderous people directing and carrying out this murder. Jesus did nothing. Correction, Jesus did do something, but it had nothing to do with relief from His pain. What Jesus did had to do with the will of His Father in Heaven. God’s will was that Jesus would die, as the Scriptures prophesied, on a tree under the worst possible conditions. And He did.
Jesus carried the cross, the burden of the world, the fear, the anxiety, the unfair treatment, the persecution, the sin. And He carried it all to the cross by becoming the sin itself. When Jesus was on the cross, sin in every form of existence was on the cross as well because He became our sin. For the Christian, the sin of the world can never be separated from the cross of the Savior.
You have been called to carry a cross. What is the cross you are called to carry…this year, this month, this week, in this moment? Where are you suffering? Name it out loud right now.
1. Squeeze the cross you bear and feel every splinter in the name of Jesus, your Savior and Redeemer, knowing it will not go unrewarded and that God will be glorified.
2. Take to the Father in prayer and lay it down before Him and thank Him for Jesus carrying His cross and thank Him for the opportunity you have to carry one too.(a similar prayer is below)
3. Pick it back up when you’re done and squeeze as tight as you can as you carry on your way singing praises to the One who gave it all.
Father, thank You for the cross I’m bearing. Thank You for the pain and agony I am experiencing right now, for I know that when I endure, as Your Son endured, I will receive the crown of everlasting life that You have promised those who love You. I love You. I’m asking that you take this painful privilege away, but if you don’t-I will be thankful to carry it further. Thank You that I can experience the destruction of sin. Help me to live an obedient life to you. Give me strength to endure this cross and the faith to walk by Your Word. Forgive me for my sins, Lord. Thank You gracious Father. I know You’re with me always. May You be glorified through my suffering. Amen.