Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent Day 12: Loving - and hating - the cross

Do you ever get caught up in little things or feel annoyed when things don't go as hoped? This morning I got a "free haircut" as a model in an expensive salon. After 1:15 in the chair, I tipped the stylist. Back home, it took 20 seconds for a surprised "What on earth!," 5 minutes to recut the back to hang right, a minute to make sure it was straight, and then I cleaned up the counter in the bathroom.
The salon cut...
a sinkful of chopped hair...

= a quick fix.
It's a bit of a waste to spend the morning on a task that usually takes 15-20 minutes. But let's face it, hair is a renewable resource.

In contrast, here's something worth agonizing about. The cross has been a true horror for me for as long as I can remember. My feelings accelerated when our anatomy prof at college described the agony of flogging and crucifixion. Could a crueler punishment exist for someone undeserving of ill treatment?

I skipped Passion shows at church and avoided Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. I could NOT watch the tearing of skin as the whips lashed Jesus or listen to nails going through human flesh. I hated the cross! the torture! Mary's tears! The disciples' loss of their dreams and hopes! It was too awful. Unbearable.

Yet I loved it, too. I've been drawn to the cross since I was a child. I've never been able to understand it. I'm overwhelmed that God chose the cross to intersect history.

How could someone endure such pain for me? Jesus carried the grief of ALL the sins of the world? He suffered the brokenness of ALL sickness. He died in anguish to win forgiveness for EVERY offense given and received.

I loathe that I pinned my Savior to the cross. I am ashamed that I continue to sin and transgress against God and others.

But since I was a little girl, I have loved the story of Jesus, winning my salvation. I'm drawn to the cross again and again.

Sometimes I get caught up in the little things of life. A bad haircut. Someone cutting me off in traffic. The failure of a project. Disappointment with people.

Then Jesus reminds me, "Here is what truly matters. I carried the cross for you." He eases the burdens of worry or unforgiveness from my backpack of grievences. He lifts the annoyance or dismay from my shoulders. He robes me in his grace, because of the cross.

What does the cross mean to you?

Read more:
*Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, for to you I pray. Psalm 5:1-2 ESV

*For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

*In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7 ESV

Moravian Prayer: In the throes of pain and suffering, we cry out to you, holy Jesus. In your own pain and suffering, you cried out to God. Comforter, you have cried our tears and you are the one to wipe our tears away. Amen.


  1. Nice and encouraging. The cross to me represents the weight of our denial to self that we carry through out our lives as we follow Jesus. " If anyone will come after me he must deny himself pick up his cross and follow me." God bless

    1. My mom always says, the cross God gives you fits your back. Don't take someone else's.

  2. Sure but helping someone carry there's when they are falling was ok with Jesus. So while I agree our cross is custom made for each of us we should never stop helping each other along the way. I think Jesus was help along the way by a stranger. : )