“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
A new year seems to signal hope for many people. Yet many are struggling with heavy crosses, wondering when the joy in a new year will come. One family lost a baby. Others are struggling with cancer diagnoses. Marriages are shaky and fighting to make it. I myself felt like January just wanted to knock me down, as trial after trial came my way.
Jesus warned us that we would have crosses. He never promised we would have it easy. In fact, He told us just the opposite. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We must learn to lean on Jesus as we struggle with the weight of heavy crosses. Our crosses unite us closer with our Lord. Yet, do you recall that even Jesus had help in carrying His cross? Simon the Cyrenian assisted at a time when Jesus continually fell and could no longer bear the weight alone. This shows us that we are not meant to carry our crosses alone. We need community to strengthen us when we feel powerless.
As that cross bears into your shoulders, know that He is walking alongside you. He’s helping to carry the weight so that you won’t fall. Yet there are people from the Body of Christ placed in your life to help you also. (If you don’t know who they are, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you.) It is good to ask for prayer, for help when needed. There is no shame. Let others use their gifts. And as you see others struggling with their crosses, help them. Pray, but also take action and do what you can.
Keep walking, dear disciple. One foot in front of the other. Your resurrection will come.