There once was a woman who begged God to take away the cross she had been called to bear. Daily it bore down upon her shoulders, until she thought she would surely be crushed under its weight. She went to God in prayer one evening, telling Him the logical conclusion she had come to: He had simply given her the wrong cross. She’d been watching her friends and neighbors, and although they had problems, their trials weren’t nearly as difficult as hers.
She fell into a restless sleep, and began to dream.
In her dream, she saw a man with a face so full of love and kindness she instantly knew it was Jesus. He took her by the hand and led her through a field. In the field lay dozens of crosses.
“My child, without a cross to bear, you will never reach your full potential or know the blessings I long to shower upon you. So you must carry a cross. However, I am allowing you to choose your own cross.”
The woman was overjoyed. She stepped eagerly to the row of crosses, certain she would find one better than her own.
She discovered a golden cross set with beautiful jewels. She gasped at its beauty and admired the way the sunlight glinted off its precious stones. But when she bent to pick it up, it was so heavy she could barely lift it. In a moment, she knew she lacked the strength to carry it.
The woman moved on to the next cross. It was entwined with deep red roses, their fragrance enveloping her as she stepped closer. Ah, this one will be perfect! It’s beautiful, and looks light enough to carry with little energy, she thought.
But when she grasped the cross, jagged thorns cut deep into her skin. She immediately let the cross fall to the ground, leaving it where it landed.
On down the row of crosses the woman walked, trying each one. Some were too heavy for her slight frame. Others were light, but their dimensions made them too awkward for her to carry. She tried cross after cross, only to place it back on the field.
Finally she came to the end of the row. A plain wooden cross lay in the grass. No fancy jewels or flowers, just a simple cross. She curled her hands around the smooth wood and lifted it to her shoulder.
It was a perfect fit.
She turned to Jesus. “I’ll take this one. It’s perfect for me.”
He smiled gently. “You are right, my beloved daughter. It is indeed a perfect fit for you.”
It was then that she realized why the cross felt so right.
For after trying all the crosses, she had come full circle.
Back to her very own cross.
My friend, do you sometimes feel the cross God has called you to bear is too much? Or perhaps you’d wish it away entirely. Although it seems life would be much simpler without trials and tribulations, there is a very important reason for them.
The crosses help mold us into the image of Jesus, and they teach us to depend upon Him. If every day was sunny and problem-free, we would soon lose the desire to pray. We would begin to do things in our own strength instead of trusting God.
It’s easy to look at the trials other people are going through and wish we had it so easy. But we can only see the surface; we don’t know what’s going on in a person’s heart, and rarely do we know the extent of outward circumstances either. What looks to be a bed of roses to us may have sharp, cutting thorns under the surface.
God knows exactly the kind of cross we need to conform us into the image of Jesus. He knows the right mixture of sun and rain, clouds and storms to send our way to make us depend upon Him and grow as Christians. We can trust that He knows what He’s doing when He allows hardships into our lives.
You can trust that your cross is the perfect one for you.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 1:6-7)
(I adapted this story from a devotional in Streams in the Desert, first published in 1925, and reprinted in 1965. I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you! Although the 1965 version is no longer available, updated versions of Streams in the Desert can be found on Amazon.)
And speaking of devotional books, I have one available! 🙂 Tales from Toddlers is a 30-day devotional book full of fun stories, Bible study questions, and practical applications to help you dig deep into the Word of God. If you choose to purchase, THANK YOU! Your support helps keep this ministry going, and my blog ad-free. I appreciate you! You can find ordering information HERE.