16 March, 2006

You will fail this test.- Part II

The weight that we bear as we take on Christ’s easy yoke and light burden, and pick up our crosses and follow Him can be crushing. I swear it would be easier to simply be flattened for good by 48 tons of steel. But it would not be better.

The idea of picking up my cross and following Jesus sounds a bit romantic, probably because I have no concept of what a real, heavy wooden cross is actually like. It’s the same thing with yoking up with Christ- I’ve never really spent a lot of time with oxen. So I guess it’s no surprise that in my own life, when I see what is meant by my own personal cross and get a sense of what it entails to walk obediently next to Christ, doing the work He has called me to, I recoil. It is so messy, so dull, so icky. It involves doing dishes, and apologizing, and praying when I don't feel like it, and getting rejected by strangers with strange accents and peculiar fashion senses, and giving up MY time and MY personal space and MY preferences. It involves walking through emotional problems with other people that I wouldn’t have to if I were running my own life (although I’m pretty jacked up myself, so there would still be that). It involves seeing other people hurt, and finding that it hurts me, too.

There’s a song I was listening to the other day by Caedmon’s Call, and the chorus is:
Keep them coming, these lines on the road.
Keep me responsible, be it a light or heavy load.
Keep me guessing at these blessings in disguise.
And I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.

It seems so cheesy and chipper written out like that, but in all honesty it took me a few days this week to get to the point where I could identify at all with, and finally reluctantly and gingerly agree with, the general principle of acceptance and contentedness captured there.

So I am forced to face my limits, and acknowledge my selfishness, and experience my own weakness. And it is hard. It is draining. It is frustrating and I want to quit and walk away and never be responsible for anything again, ever. But it’s like that old Bear Hunt song where, with each new obstacle you encounter, you find that “you can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, I guess you’ll have to go through it!” Only when you’re a little kid and it’s a game it is funny, but when you’re the closest thing there is to an adult that’s around and it is real it is not funny at all.

Sara helped me a lot by simply reminding me that I need to recognize and deal with my selfishness, and be about what God is about, and embrace what He has called me to here. I’m thankful that God is gracious and He allows me to be honest with Him about how I feel. And I’m thankful that He is also Righteous and, in the end, gives me the strength to get back up and follow Him anyway, regardless of how I feel.

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