HEARTLIGHTJust for Women







Embracing the Cross
by Michelle Velez

    As I was driving home today from work, I was thinking about the importance of accepting where we are and what is going on in our lives. It is very difficult to recognize and to come face-to-face with the very things that cause us pain and suffering. At the same time, this is exactly what Jesus has called us to do. He tells us to carry our crosses and follow him: “...you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your OWN cross and follow me.” (Luke 14:27 The emphasis on “OWN” is added for clarity—the pronoun is in the original text but dropped by several of the translations.)

    We can find so many different ways to escape reality and ignore the every day problems we should confront. Society tries to offer simple and easy, “cross-less” solutions to our difficult and sometimes seemingly hopeless situations. These shortcut solutions nearly always fail. But the lure of their quick fix can make it difficult to follow Jesus and be a true disciple.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
    What does Jesus mean by “carrying one’s own cross”? He means recognizing all the things in our lives that bring us pain and suffering, then accepting them as the “cross” given to us to allow us to share in our Savior’s suffering. Once we recognize our cross and accept it, Jesus then calls us to embrace it as our means of becoming one with Him and His suffering.

    Let’s take a moment and reflect on our lives and all the difficulties that we face as Christian women at this present moment. Notice that many things may not be the way we planned or even desired them to be. But this is the way they are. The way things are may be the way God intended, or simply the way God has allowed them to be. Either way, God is very much aware of what is going on and how the situation effects our future. Our Creator is in charge of our lives and everything around us. Because of this, we can have the assurance that He knows why things are the way they are and what his purpose is for us as we go through trial and difficulty and is working in them to bring us to His blessing.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. God knew them before he made the world, and he decided that they would be conformed to his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many children.
Romans 8:28
    As I contemplate the difficulties that I encounter now, I ask God to show me what is within my power to control and what is within His power alone. I ask God for the wisdom and strength to make the changes in the areas where I am able to make improvements. In those circumstances where I do not have control, I ask God for more trust in Him that I may always feel secure, trusting that the Creator of the universe is working things out in His way and in His timing.

    It is once I embrace my own cross that I can then feel the peace and the satisfaction that I have done my best and God will do the rest. Crosses may not be easy to face, but God uses them to bring His children to glory.



HEARTLIGHT® Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
HEARTLIGHT and the flared heart design are service marks of Heartlight, Inc.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Article copyright © 1998, Michelle Velez. Used by permission.
Design copyright © 1997-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
May be reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.