On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Easter is past, but the Lord keeps bringing me back to the cross. So many times when things have just seemed too hard, too unfair, when my heart cries, “Why,” He has brought me there, to the restrained but raw accounts in the gospels, to His suffering and death for us. And always, even if it doesn’t answer all my questions, it quiets them. Because even when I don’t understand, I can’t question His love for us when I look at the cross. And I have to believe that if He loves me and my loved ones that much, if He can bring triumph out of such betrayal and wrong, He must have a plan, a plan for good, even if I can’t see it now.
Lately He’s also been reminding me that the cross is for us too.
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.’”
My grandma’s latest issue of InTouch magazine is titled, “Living the crucified life.” I’ve been reminded that choosing to follow Jesus entails a dying, a giving up of our own life, and often deep pain. I don’t like the cross. I don’t like it for Him, and I don’t like it for us. It seems, though, it is a necessary part of God’s story, His plan.
But with Jesus, the cross is not the end. It is always followed by the resurrection. So we can cling to it, for the incredible love it proves in the face of injustice and pain and hurt…and the promise that it will someday be replaced by a crown.