ATLANTA (BP)–The normal Christian is very much aware of the command of Jesus to “pick up your cross” or to “carry your cross” (Matthew 16:24, 10:38; Mark 8:34-38). Instinctively the sincere Christian will drop to his knees and cry out to God, “Lord, I will pick up my cross and follow you!” And he begins the life of cross bearing.
But soon loneliness seems to set in. The Christian finds himself very much alone.
Though in the midst of family, friends and other Christians, he cannot seem to find anyone with a similar heart. He cannot locate another person who shares the deeper walk with God, or the intense relationship with God he is experiencing. It is lonely “carrying the cross.” The burden becomes heavy, yet he cannot seem to find someone else to share this with. Others do not seem to understand him, or his cross.
There is a uniqueness about the relationship with Christ in cross bearing. It is “your cross, and no one else’s.” No one else has a cross like yours, so they do not seem to understand you. A.W. Tozer, in his book, “Man the Dwelling Place of God,” shares with great insight here, as he states, “Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as man apart….” (p. 171).
This sense of aloneness in carrying your cross will drive you back to God, who alone can really help you.
The cross you carry is really in your heart, and only God can walk with you there. You may try to explain the intimacy with God, the heaviness of heart God has given you, and the burden of what you learned from God while alone with him. You may seek to find someone to share it with, but you just cannot find anyone who truly understands. Go to God immediately and do not be surprised if others not only do not understand you, but also will not know exactly how to help you. They, if sensitive, will say, “Please know that I will be praying for you!” This will be some form of enabling for your cross bearing.
As you carry your cross, you will experience two other things:
1. You will be much more quiet while with others.
2. You will not withdraw from those with deep problems.
In fact, you will sense even a greater ability to help carry their load, for you now have a greater appreciation of what it means, and the resources God has granted.
Blackaby serves as president of Henry Blackaby Ministries, on the Web at www.henryblackaby.com. His column appears monthly.