The story is told of a man who goes to Jesus wanting to trade out his cross for a better one.  He tells the Lord, “I see the crosses others are carrying and theirs are much more bearable than mine.  Why does my cross have to be so cumbersome and heavy?  Other people carry their cross with ease and mine is hindering my day to day life.”  Jesus leads the man to a room full of crosses.  Some are big and others are small.  The man is instructed to put down his cross and then go select a new cross.  The only stipulation was once he made his selection he could never complain or exchange his cross again. He searches for hours on end.  The big crosses were just as he assumed  very large and very heavy.  He knew there was no way he could ever carry those crosses.  The smaller crosses were shockingly painful.  Some had stickers that constantly stuck you in the shoulder or back reminding you of the beams you were bearing.  Others were oddly shaped and rubbed the neck raw.  Finally the man came upon a cross that was perfect for him.  Not too big but not too little.  There were no sharp prodding objects and it rested perfectly on his shoulder so it would not irritate him as he carried it.  The man cried out, “Here it is Lord.”  Jesus asked the man, “Are you sure?  Remember there are no trades or exchanges and no more complaining about your cross.”  The man replied, “I am sure.  This is the perfect cross for me.”  To which Jesus replied, ‘My child, that is the cross you carried in with you today.”

The obvious moral to the story is that we all have a cross to bear.  We all have struggles in this life.  This is not referring to the problems of life itself.  Saint and sinner alike has problems in life.  We are talking about those things which are hard for us to carry in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Maybe it is a temptation we regularly struggle with.  Maybe it is a past that we can not seem to escape from.  Maybe it is a rebellious attitude that is not willing to give God everything in our lives.  Regardless of the type of the cross, the truth is, we all have a cross to bear.  Each of us is, or should be, carrying a cross for the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

As we bear our crosses there are two things we need to keep in mind.  First, your cross is your cross.  Do not look at someone else’s cross and think, man they have it easy because you do not have a clue how it feels to wear that cross.  It may look lighter, but it does not mean it is any less painful.  The cross Jesus has placed on your shoulders is your cross.  It was made and designed for you. So bear it with humility and grace.  Secondly, always know, that when your cross seems unbearable, that Jesus never puts a bigger cross on you than you can handle.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (The Message)  The cross you carry is your cross and you have the strength from God to carry it until the end.  Keep your eyes on the goal and know you can make it to the end