Blessed John Henry Newman writes, “You have one work only: to bear your cross after Him.”
What is our natural aversion to suffering and the crosses of our life? Self-preservation, weakness, wimpy-ness, apathy or out and out refusal? I am sure there are many more words than the few I have listed.
If we declare ourselves Christians, and at its very root that means following Christ, He states, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23, Matt 16:24) then we must consider what this means.
Surely as human beings we understand the value in pushing through difficulties. In hindsight, we often look back at those times in our life and see growth from those times. After all, “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” We can all attest to that no doubt.
So why the reluctance to take up our crosses?
Fear, I suspect is a strong motivator. Fear of what? The unknown, the consequences, the outcomes, the price.
If we believe Christ to be God and trust that He has our backs and only wants what is best for us, loves us beyond measure, and desires our union with Him in eternal bliss; we have got to believe that the cross is good for us.
So why delay? One of my favorite parts in the Passion of the Christ was when Christ was given His cross and He embraced and kissed it. In imitation of our Lord we must do the same. It only becomes sweeter and lighter when we do. Yes, sweeter and lighter.
Newman goes on to write, “Every act of obedience is an approach-an approach to Him who is not far off, though He seems so…”
Do not fear, trust in the Lord and pick up that cross you have been avoiding- it is you will find, the very remedy to your problem and the key to heaven.