“In a way, I have looked at my wheelchair as my cross to bear, but is it? What exactly is the cross I am to take up daily? What about you? Is your cross your arthritis, a dead end job? Is your cross to bear an unhappy marriage, or recurring headaches? Are these the things the Lord had in mind when He told us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23)?
Well, I think the answer to that question can be found in the cross of Christ, because when He took up His cross, He was taking on the sins of the world; He was bearing our transgressions; He was willing to be nailed to the cross and die for our sins. And friend, that right there helps shape our view on what it should mean to take up our cross daily. It basically means to die to the sins that Jesus died for on His cross. In other words, my cross to bear is not my wheelchair, it’s my rotten attitude about my wheelchair; it’s the fear and the anxiety, the anger I sometimes have when everything about my disability seems to go wrong at once. It’s the occasional doubts I have about God being in control. These are the things I must die to, because these are the sins Christ died for. So when I take up my cross daily, I purpose to be like Jesus. I want to die to sin and live for God. I want to put behind me the fear and worry that my wheelchair often reveals about me. And in a way, it makes me grateful for this wheelchair, because this wheelchair reveals the stuff I need to confess. It’s the instrument of my sanctification every day and for that I’m thankful.
Friend, your cross to bear is not your boring job, aching back, or irksome mother-in-law. Your cross to bear is your daily putting to death your attitude about your boring job, exasperating mother-in-law and aching muscles, and this means you can “rejoice in your suffering.” Why? Because it gets you engaged in your own sanctification each and every day. It happens every day you take up your cross and follow Him.”
- Joni Eareckson Tada