Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
May 2012 Edition
A story is told about a man who felt like he was at the end of his rope. He couldn’t understand why life could still be hard on him when he had decided to fully obey God. He had picked up his cross and followed Him. Yet he wasn’t spared still from life’s difficulties.
Feeling utterly hopeless and miserable, he called unto God in prayer. And as if in a dream, he saw himself suddenly standing before God in heaven. Emboldened by the opportunity to talk to God face to face, he bared his heart to Him and told Him exactly how hard he felt life was for him.
“Lord, I am presenting to You this cross that I took up as I followed You. It’s just too much for me to bear. I don’t think I can carry it anymore,” he cried out to God.
God looked at him tenderly, knowingly, compassionately. Then the man heard His invitation for him to enter into a special room that was full of crosses.
“Leave here the cross you’re carrying now and search the entire room for the cross which you feel would be easiest for you to carry,” God told him lovingly.
The man scanned the room. He methodically searched for that easy-to-carry-cross. Now that he had the freedom to choose his cross, he’d make sure he’d get the lightest one.
Cross after cross, he searched. The sheer number and various kinds of crosses that he saw amazed him. Some crosses were too big and daunting, their top couldn’t be seen from where he was standing.
Finally, he saw a small and thin cross that was leaning on a wall. His eyes glistened. At last, after the long search, he found the cross that, for him, was undoubtedly the easiest one to bear. So he went back to God to point to Him the cross that he felt best suited him.
“Are you sure this is the cross you want?” he heard God ask him. Comparing to the other huge and massive crosses, he knew he couldn’t go wrong with his choice. So he nodded his head in agreement.
Then God told him, “This is the very same cross you were carrying earlier. This is the very same cross you were trying to trade for another.”
The Word of the LORD tells us that, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, The Message).
This beautiful Bible verse presents to us four powerful promises from the LORD that are sufficient to sustain us through life’s changing seasons.
First promise: No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. Life’s difficulties are not unique to us. We are mistaken when we think that we singlehandedly carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders. Even the Apostle Paul had his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7). Yet, according to the grace of God that is at work in us, we are enabled to endure and overcome.
Second promise: God will never let you down. We will never get disappointed when we put our trust in God, because He is ever true to us.
Third promise: He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit. Our Maker knows precisely our limitations. And only up to such brink will He allow trials to test us. Forget not Job, the man whom God allowed to be tested and tempted by Satan. Job lost everything he had, except his life. Yet with what was left of him, God made him doubly blessed.
Fourth promise: He’ll always be there to help you come through it. The single best word of assurance here is always. When He promised that He’d be with us always, He meant it. Hence, come hell or high waters, we’ll never be alone in this life of obedience to God (Psalm 91:15, Hebrews 13:5). We maybe at a point when we are about to lose our minds and lives, but we must never lose heart. Recall how even a rotting Lazarus, from his tomb, was brought back to life by Christ (John 11:42-44).
Let us not curse our crosses, but carry them in complete obedience to Christ. Once upon a time, He also carried a cross, got crucified on it, and bore its curse for our redemption. He knows the pain too much, He won’t allow us to go through anything beyond what we can bear. This is our greatest assurance.