How Is Your Back?

by Travis Brown

A story is told of a preacher who held a meeting in the southwest.

At one point in his sermon, the old minister spoke of Simon of Cyrene

and asked the audience to determine in their own hearts their reaction to

that scene.

Just then a young boy came walking up the aisle on little fat, brown

legs, with serious determination in his eyes. The preacher stopped

speaking and the congregation was as quiet as death.

"You asked what I would have done if I had been in the crowd when

Jesus fell under the weight of His cross." He looked earnestly up at the

preacher. "Sir, I would have helped Him carry it."

He was a Mexican boy around nine years old. His father was a miner and

his mother was an outcast.

The minister lifted his arm and cried: "Yes, and if you had helped Him

to carry His cross, the cruel Roman soldiers would have beaten down

across your back with their whips until the blood ran down to your


He never flinched. Meeting the preacher's look with one of cool

courage, he gritted through clenched teeth: "I don't care. I would have

helped Him carry it just the same."

Two weeks later, at the close of the service, the old preacher stood

at the door, greeting people as they left. When the little boy, Pedro,

came by, he patted him affectionately on the back. Pedro pulled away with

a little cry.

"Please don't do that. My back is sore."

The preacher stood astonished; he had barely touched his shoulders.

He took him to a room and removed his shirt. Crisscrossed from his

neck to his waist were ugly, bloody welts.

"Who did that?" the preacher cried in anger.

"Mother did it. She whipped me because I came to church."

Jesus said in Luke 14:27 "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and

come after me, cannot be my disciple." We are told we must bear our cross

in order to be a true disciple of Christ. There are many forms of crosses

in an individual's life. We all have loads we struggle with from time to

time, some more difficult than others.

Long ago, there was a man who had his share of bearing crosses. He

wrote these words in II Corinthians 4:8-9 "We are troubled on every side,

yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but

not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."

The apostle Paul was an amazing man. He was hit by more problems than

most people see in a lifetime. If anyone ever had a right to say he had a

bad back, it was Paul. He was thrown into prison, received 39 lashes on 5

different occasions, beat with rods, stoned and left for dead, and


Paul was not invincible but he knew a secret. He knew where his

strength came from. II Samuel 22:33 says, "God is my strength and power;

and he maketh my way perfect." The Psalmnist wrote in Psalm 73:26 "My

flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my

portion forever."

One difference between Paul and many Christians today is the fact that

Paul was ready to bear whatever cross came his way, no matter how heavy

or burdensome it was. He knew that God would be with him every step of

the way.

When we face problems today we can find comfort and encouragement in

passages like Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and of good courage, fear not,

nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with

thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

We are not promised a Bed of Roses when we give our lives to the Lord.

We are promised a cross. Ours may not be the same as little Pedro's but

it can be just as hard to bear. Once we recognize what it is that we are

struggling with, we must meet it head on. We have to be totally convinced

that God, through His strength and love, will help us see it through the


How is your back? Is it scarred and bent over from the cross you've

been dragging? Maybe you have done like so many others through the years

and just given up, just left your cross lying in the sand. If that is the

case, it is time for you to grit your teeth, ask God for strength, and

get a firm hold on that cross again.

The trail to Heaven can be a long, hard struggle and many won't make

it. You can bet that those who do reach the Home of Eternal Rest, will do

it under the wight of a cross.

When it seems like you can't go on and you're at the point of giving

up, remember II Corinthians 12:9-10:

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Click here for another story about bearing your cross.

Click on the 'back' button to continue.