My cross to bear

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? ~Matthew 16:24-26 (CEB)

“Jesus says, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him . . . take us his cross and follow me’ (Matt 16:24). He does not say, ‘Make a cross’ or ‘Look for a cross.’ Each of us has a cross to carry. There is no need to make one or look for one. The cross we have is hard enough for us! But are we willing to take it up, to accept it as our cross?

Maybe we can’t study, maybe we are handicapped, maybe we suffer from depression, maybe we experience conflict in our families, maybe we are victims of violence or abuse. We didn’t choose any of it, but these things are our crosses. We can ignore them, reject them, refuse them or hate them. But we can also take up these crosses and follow Jesus with them.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen

There are many things that I have gone through that I would not have chosen if I had been given the choice. There are many things that I wish I had realized what the consequences would be by what I had chosen. But I have enough years behind me now to see how God can take all of my life and use it for His glory. Not even my tears are wasted. That is the choice I have now. The choice to embrace all if it. The good and the bad and follow Jesus with them.

Heavenly Father, give me the strength I need this day to take up my cross and follow Jesus where ever He leads me. Help me to accept the cross I bear as mine. Help me to embrace it all and be whole. Amen.

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