Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Cross

I'm pretty sure that if you could capture the inner dialogue between myself and God, it would go something like this:

"God, how do I know you won't fail me?"
God: "I've never failed you before."
Me: "But how do I know I can trust you? You've allowed hurt/pain before."
God: "I told you that in this world you will suffer, but that I have overcome the world. You know this. 
But this world is not the end. In it you will experience pain. Even I suffered, and I am God. It was a choice. If you follow Me, there will be pain. You will choose pain. As my follower you must live as I have lived, and love as I have loved. You must sacrifice yourself. Not just your actions, but your heart too."
Me: "But love hurts!"
God: "Trust Me, I know. Love hurts. I endured that hurt for you, and for everyone. But the love and joy you will know in Me as my follower is worth the pain, I am worth the pain. 
And when I call you home, you will be an heir with Me in my kingdom, and there will be no more pain. 'Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.'

I love you. Do you love Me?"
Me: "Yes"
God: "Then take up your cross and follow me. 

Let me ask again, do you love me?"
Me: "Yes."
God: "Then love others. 
Trust me, even when it hurts. And I promise you it will hurt. But I will be with you, and so also will my love.
When you were younger, you trusted me more fully. 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.' Love me like you once did. Trust me like you once did. I haven't changed, it is you that have changed." 

At times I think I've finally surrendered, and then I find myself clinging to self-preservation and I realize what Jesus meant by taking up your cross "daily." 
Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life. is a new day of surrender. Of losing my life to find it. If it didn't hurt, it wouldn't be a cross. 
Everyone's cross may look a little different and may change over time (though we are all called to love), but all those who follow Christ carry one. 
My cross today is my heart and emotions--open, bleeding, broken for the cause of love. Letting life and love hurt. Being honest and vulnerable, instead of building walls in an effort to keep myself from feeling hurt and pain. 

My dad gave an illustration during our family bible time recently that stuck with me. 
It was something like this:

"There is 'I.'"

 ::writes the letter "I" on the white board:: 

"And then Jesus said 'Nope.'" 

::draws a line through the 'I' as if to cross it out (no pun intended), making the shape of a cross:: 

What does your cross look like? 

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