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
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
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
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."
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