Whenever I read about the great men and women in the Bible it always amazes me at the crosses they had to bare. Like Moses having to spend 40 years on the backside of the desert tending sheep, running away from the very ruler he was raised as a son to rule with. Or Noah facing years of ridicule from those around him as he built a humongous boat in response to a forecast of some unknown thing called “rain.” And women like Rahab, putting her life in jeopardy for the Hebrew spies, then having to live with her past reputation within that unaccustomed culture the rest of her life.
Think about the apostle Paul and all of his hardships—beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and even bitten by a poisonous snake. All to which he remained undaunted in living out his life wholly directed and orchestrated by God.
After looking at all of them I think, what about me? I haven’t had to go to prison (though in some countries Christians have). I haven’t been through things that seem comparable to these pillars of faith. But what have I been through? What crosses has God put in front of me?
Sometimes we do have to go through big heavy trials, but I don’t believe it has to be. I think God has us encounter simple everyday challenges as opportunities of growth.
For example, how about traffic? Long lines we have to wait in? Malfunctioning appliances or problems with computers? How are we responding to the challenges that are put before us? Are we aggravated that a car pulled out right in front of us and is driving slow? Do we have choice words for the teller or cashier who isn’t going fast enough for us?
We tend to see such challenges as problems, irritations, delays, or just a “pain in the neck.” Why not try looking at them as crosses to bear, or a way to spiritually grow?
- Is there a chance to be humble? (1 Peter 3:8)
- An opportunity to serve or help someone in the midst of the circumstance? (Gal. 5:13)
- Maybe there’s a way to express love and joy — or other fruits of the Spirit — while others are stressed out. (Gal. 5:22)
- The Holy Spirit may lead us to just remain silent, not join in on the complaining or judging. (Ps. 141:3)
I believe these irritants that come our way, especially when things are not going “our way,” are the chance for us to grow. Derek Prince once said that a cross is when “my way crosses His way,” therein lies a choice to choose. Growth typically happens little by little. A seed doesn’t just get planted one day and become a tree the next, nor does a baby grow into an adult overnight. It takes time, years for growth to happen. It’s a step-by-step process.
So my question to you, dear reader, is — are you in the process? Are you choosing to embrace the daily crosses that God puts in front of you? Are you choosing to grow in God? Let’s choose to be His disciples by taking up the crosses before us and following Him. (Luke 9:23)