March 31, 2010

My Simon of Cyrene

Matthew 16:24
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross.”

“No one is forced, but if any will be a Christian, it must be on these terms: Let him deny himself, and take up his cross. This rule can never be too much observed: let each on in all things deny his or her own will, however pleasing, and do the will of God , however painful.” ~ John Wesley
I was in rare form this week when my Father God was talking to me about the crosses, the many crosses large and small that exist in my life; the ones I must carry. In bold audacity, while languishing in a pit of self, I said out loud, “Even Jesus had help carrying the cross.”

Matthew 27:32
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

I knew right when the words came out that I looked like a toddler with a fist in his father’s face; if not absurd, then humorous. I’m amazed at the patience God extends when I show such an infantile attitude. In times like these I guess I’m telling him that I’m tired of being all grown up. The crosses are heavy and well, I just want to complain for awhile.
“Great crosses are occasions of great improvement. And the little ones which come daily, even hourly, make up in number what they lack in weight. We may, in these daily and hourly crosses, make effectual sacrifice of our will to God. These, so frequently repeated, will soon mount to a great sum.” ~ John Wesley
In that moment alone there with my Father, questioning what it was he expected of me, he looked down at me, extended his arm of grace and wrapped one large God hand around my tiny fist and looked me square in the eye. What did I see there? Simon of Cyrene on one side of the cross, and me on the other. When I pick up my crosses (and picking them up is sometimes the hardest part) and follow him, I take part in Christ crucified. I share in his suffering.

And what about that help that Jesus received, that he didn’t even ask for, that man named Simon that his Father placed in his path?

Matthew 11:29-30
‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

As he reminds me of these words that Jesus spoke, I come full circle in my conversation with God. I now realize that Jesus is my Simon of Cyrene. The difference? Jesus isn’t forced to help me, he helps me willingly. When I lay my life down at his feet and pick up the life that he has for me, the yoke is easy and the burden is light. The weight of the large crosses and the weight of the many small ones become bearable when aided by his ever renewing strength.

8 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this post, Stephani, and yes I am so grateful that he is so patient with us when we behave in a juvenile way.

    And to share in His suffering, that is what I want to be willing to do.

    I loved exploring your brag book--your family is precious. I know you are proud of them.

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I appreciate your comments so much.

    Dianne

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  2. As always, your entry was so stirring and I appreciate your thoughts so much! I took the time to browse through your family brag book and what a beautiful family you have. I would love to post more pictures of my family, but our son and his wife adopted a baby girl,at birth, this past Oct. and the birth Mom is nearby and they do not want any pictures of her on the internet just yet. So, I patiently wait! :o) See you for coffee on Friday!

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  3. Oh my, how many times have I done that! AND He still blesses...gives us our Simons among other things.

    Beautiful post.

    Blessings,
    Trish
    PS. Thanks for stopping by today. May the Lord bless you.

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  4. Stephani, your words about crosses speak what my heart ponders. Thank you for pointing the way to the Father. In joy...

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  5. In times like these I guess I’m telling him that I’m tired of being all grown up. The crosses are heavy

    Guilty...you know, too often I try to force someone into helping me, like my husband. I need to go to Him, the One who has already carried this cross. Thank you for the beautiful imagery.

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  6. Amen!! These words really spoke to my heart this morning.
    "Jesus isn’t forced to help me, he helps me willingly."

    Praise God He comes willingly and for His renewing strength!

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  7. Stephani,

    This was a beautiful post! I am so glad that God loves us even when we behave in a childish way. I guess if we were all honest, we would say that we act that way, too! (probably often...)

    Every time I stop by to visit you, I come away blessed, encouraged, and challenged! God is using you in my life, and I am so thankful for you!

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting me so faithfully. I always enjoy your comments. I hope you have a great day, and that your Easter celebration is very special.

    Blessings~

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  8. That sounds like a complaint I am likely to make, too. I love how you turned it around, though. Thanks for sharing and teaching me through your lesson. Have a blessed Easter!

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