John 3:16 Carry Your Cross

Cross and candle vigil
We are each given a unique Cross to bear – Use it well

John 3:16 – Ask a young Christian child what the most important verse in the Bible is and many will tell you John 3:16,

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

Ask a young Catholic child how much Christ loves her and she will smilingly respond, “He Loves me this much!” As she throws her arms wide to show Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

And yet somewhere in between that trusting child and our cynical adulthood

     Life Happens

And we question the Crosses we are given.

I sat in church yesterday listening to this Gospel of John, looking around at my friends, and thinking of how every one of them is carrying some sort of burden. No matter how perfect they seem, many have shouldered painful, frustrating, anger-provoking experiences. Many have questioned why, and listening to their stories, I have questioned why too.

I still do.

These are Good people. Why does life have to be so hard?

I sat in church praying for my friends, both those around me who carry their crosses quietly, behind closed doors and those who share their stories online revealing to others Light and Love, victims of child abuse like Cristina and marital stress like Charity, those who are sick and wanting the best for their families like Tammi, and especially those like Mary (and her daughter Courtney) who care for sick children.

There is such pain and suffering in this world and we often, understandably, beg the Lord to lift our Crosses from us. This is especially true when we face pain in our Loved ones or the fear of the unknown.

Turning to God both in our sorrows and in our triumphs is Good. God wants to share those with us. He wants to share every moment with us as every Good Father wants to share with his children, but, just as a Good Father tells his children not to cheat in a ball game even though they may experience a loss, God the Ultimate Good Father tells us not to cheat when it comes to carrying our Crosses even though we too may experience a loss.

There are often times when the Cross we carry helps us become stronger to face challenges ahead, bends in the road we do not see coming, or to help Loved one through their own painful experiences, experiences, not caused by God, but by man or our environment. When we carry the Cross we are given, the Cross uniquely designed for our shape, size, and strength, uniquely designed for us in our place, in our time, we are offered two choices: to accept the Cross and carry it in faith or to turn away. Very seldom do we see a middle of the road Cross bearer.

We often see Jesus on the Cross but forget that His suffering began long before that final day. Even as a child He was questioned by those in the Temple, as a young man, He was angered by the gaming in His Father’s temple, and as a Healer, he was doubted and His Goodness was questioned.

Jesus’ Cross began, through NO fault of His own, long before the Last Supper.

And yet, He bore that Cross for us. He did not try to lighten His load, go back on His promise, or cheat us out of it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

It is tempting to question the Crosses we have been given, but just as Jesus’ Cross was sent to save us, so too are our Crosses sent, not to condemn us to a life of abuse, worthlessness, hurt, or fear, but to save us from even worse.

Bear your Cross with Faith, Hope, and Love. We will rise again with our Lord in Heaven, and those Crosses may actually be your bridge to the Lord.

What Crosses do you bear? How are you uniquely qualified to carry that Cross? Who has the Lord put into your life to help shoulder your burden? Are you humbly reaching out for help? When it is your turn to help another, do you offer your assistance graciously so as to not add to the burden?

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God Bless…