This last Saturday really made me think. I don't really like to think on a Saturday, it is my brain's time to relax. However, my brain was in high gear in the afternoon. Michael, Jake, and I had the opportunity to help carry the cross that was making its way from Kansas City to St Louis. We met some amazing people that day: Randy Messer, who is a pastor from the KC area, and Joe. I am not sure of Joe's last name, but I believe he is also from KC. Both of these men have a servant's heart and real desire to help people learn of the cross.
It was Jake's idea to sign up to help carry the cross. I totally went with his idea for a couple of reasons. 1 - it was Jake's idea and it was a great idea. 2 - I thought it would be "cool" or "neat" to be a part of this. What I didn't know was that it was going to touch my heart quite like it did.
I walked with the cross first. As Joe put that cross on my left shoulder, I thought this is going to be easy. Not too heavy and it has a wheel to help pull it along. I started on my walk, concentrating on the wind and hoping it wouldn't knock the cross from my hands. It didn't take very long for my mind to start thinking of Jesus and put the wind from my mind. Could have been the weight of the cross, could have just been a natural thought as I was carrying a cross. Or it could have been because Joe was walking behind me praising God.
The further I walked, the heavier that cross became. I picked a spot ahead of me, which turned out to be exactly a mile from where I started carrying the cross. I kept my eyes on that orange sign I had chosen to be my ending spot. It seemed like that orange sign kept moving back and that I wasn't going to reach it. It became a struggle to keep holding that cross in the wind and putting one foot in front of the other.
Then it hit me. I was carrying the cross for one mile. I struggled to keep it up ONE MILE. The whole time, my relief was in sight. I knew when I got to that orange sign, I was going to hand the cross off to Jake, who would then shoulder the burden for that time. At any point along the way, if the cross became too heavy, all I had to do was ask Joe or Jake to take the burden from me.
So many years ago, Jesus carried his cross. His relief wasn't in sight. He didn't have an orange sign to look toward knowing his relief would come. The closer he got to his destination, the closer he came to more painful torture and death. Sure, he could have just asked his Father to take the burden from him, but he chose to keep the burden. Simon from Cyrene had to carry the cross for Jesus because he had been beaten so much he could no longer carry it. However, the burden of the weight of the cross was nothing compared to the burden of the sins of the world, pushing him down and crushing him. Even though he knew this was his destiny and his fate, Jesus chose this. John 17 contains Jesus' prayer. He prayed for himself; he prayed for his disciples. He also prayed for all believers. Those in his current day and those who were to come. We were on his mind that day.
The whole time he was carrying his cross, his relief wasn't in sight, but my salvation was. Thank God and thank you Jesus, that you chose my salvation over your relief.