Whose Problems Do You Want?

Not long ago I read a poem called “The Changed Cross” about a woman who thought her problems were the worst of all. She was tired of her heavy burden and decided that she would like to trade it for another one that might be easier to bear. She tried picking up a few different crosses, one was too sharp and painful, one was too big to lift. She looked around and saw a cross that looked beautiful. It was covered in gemstones and was very ornate. She instantly decided that it was the cross she would like to bear. But as she tried to lift it she fell beneath its weight. It was far too heavy and she knew she could never bear a burden like that. She searched some more and saw a simple wooden cross that looked a little smaller. As she picked it up she was surprised at how light it felt. It fit comfortably on her. It felt almost natural for her to carry this one. And then she realized that this was the cross she had carried all along and had thought she wanted to trade for another.

I think we often do the very same thing. We get so focused on our problems and think they are too heavy for us to bear. The more we think about our problems the more terrible we decide that they are. That’s what happens when we look at ourselves for too long - the problems we already have seem to only get worse. But in reality, if we were to take up someone else’s problems, we would learn how difficult they can be. Perhaps you think you would rather trade places with your friend, but if you saw the secret burdens she bears you would change your mind. Maybe you think the financial burdens someone bears would be easier than the health problems you face. Or maybe you wish you had the high paying job but you don’t realize the stress and sacrifice that comes along with it. Maybe you would rather have seven mouths to feed than deal with your infertility. Or maybe you have seven mouths to feed and sometimes long for the days when you had no children at all.

Do you see how dangerous this path can be? No matter what you are facing God knows. He placed you on this path and He allowed the difficulties you face. And He will carry you through them if you will just lean on Him instead of trying to fix everything by yourself. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” I looked up the word “temptation” in Strong’s Concordance and in this verse it means “a putting to proof, experience, adversity.” God’s Word is telling us that no difficult experience comes into our lives without God also giving us the grace to endure it.

In my own life this is a great challenge and also a great encouragement. Sure, my struggle to get pregnant has been hard. Losing two pregnancies has been tragic. But these problems are mine, given to me because God wants me to trust Him through them. He wants me to glorify Him in my circumstances. Maybe I think I would rather bear a different burden, but God is wiser and knows that this is the burden I need to bear. Let’s strive together to shift our focus from what we would rather deal with to glorifying God in the circumstances that He has allowed in our lives. 


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