“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” – 1 Peter 3:18
Pain tells us that we are alive. Scars remind us that we have survived. I remind myself of this all the time when I grow weary of life and its twists and turns. I have found that it requires a conscious effort for me to relinquish the hold that my past has over me. Somewhere along the way, I allowed my past to define me. I became that which broke me down. I held on to the very things that God was calling for me to release. I fell to my knees night after night complaining about the magnitude of my problems. I told God all about my overwhelming financial issues, the rejection I felt, the guilt of getting a divorce, the ugliness I saw in the mirror, the life that I flushed down the toilet. I told Him everything. I just knew that He would realize why my life felt so heavy. I knew He would understand. He knew everything about me…so He had to know the weight of my soul as well. I was sure of it.
Then, it hit me. THREE HUNDRED POUNDS. That’s how much it weighed…physically. In reality, it was so much heavier. It literally equaled the weight of the world. His cross. He carried it. While being beaten, spit on, and mocked…He carried it for me. And here I was (here I still am sometimes), slapping Him in the face over an over by complaining about battles that He has already fought and won on my behalf. I was no better than the ones who crucified Him. How dare I speak to God about the size of my mountain when He has promised me that if I just speak it and believe it…the mountain will move? How audacious of me to express anxiety over the amount of money in my bank account when the God that I serve has always provided for me? How ungrateful must I really be to expect pity over consequences faced when I knowingly acted out of His will for me?
Reflecting on the weight of His cross brings new perspective to my life. It offers healing. It represents restoration. It promises salvation. It reminds me that He understands my suffering because He too suffered. He does not judge my brokenness because like Him, I have been broken down so that His goodness can be glorified. I find comfort in knowing that God does not expect me to weather my storms alone. His strength is most evident when I am weak and for that reason, I will embrace the pain that once held me down. I will wear my scars proudly because they tell the world about my deliverance. Most of all, I will handle both my problems and my conversations with God a little differently. Rather than telling my God about my hardships, I will speak to my hardships about the immeasurable power of my God.
Heavenly Father…thank You for Your precious gift of redemption. Help me to never lose sight of the price that Jesus paid so that I might be freed of things of this world and made whole in You. When I feel as though my soul is heavy, give me the strength to take up my cross and continue to follow You. Amen.