Thursday, April 21, 2011

God On The Cross

So far, writing about the cross of Christ has been a difficult blessing.  The same may be said for bearing that cross, which it is necessary to distinguish from other crosses that are not of Christ.  There are distinctions to be made among sufferings, and it is necessary to discern the origins of the crosses we find ourselves bearing. 

For instance, there are those given to the bearer by God, entrusted to them by God for a purpose that ultimately serves the fulfillment of His plan for human redemption and salvation.  An example of this could be Padre Pio’s stigmata.  Then there are those we bear that arise as a result of our choices and the decisions made by others that affect us.  Such as, texting while driving and crashing into someone.  If we’re the one texting, we find ourselves bearing the weight of guilt for having paralyzed the pedestrian we ran over, and if we’re the one who’s been run over, we’re bearing the burden of now being paralyzed.

To be clear, the crosses we bring upon ourselves or others, or those others bring upon us, may all become crosses of Christ in and through our manner of bearing them.      

With Lyme disease, we can review our actions and at some point try to take the blame for our affliction by telling ourselves it was our choice to do whatever it is we were doing when we were infected.  Riding the bike too near to the reeds, walking the dog in the woods, mowing the lawn that day… Do we blame the tick?  For about 2 minutes.  Do we at some point blame God?

Did God will that the texter be texting and driving?  Not really.  She was permitted to do this because of her freewill and her actions caused great suffering in guilt to herself and to the one who was paralyzed by her actions.  Did God permit the pedestrian to be struck by her vehicle and paralyzed?  Yes.  Why?

Ultimately, He will permit and employ whatever means we construct by our actions and dispositions to lead us to Him.  Though He is not the cause of our affliction, He will use our affliction to draw us close to Him because He desires nothing more than our union with Him. 

So, back to Lyme, it is unlikely any of us rolled around in the grass with the intention of being infected any more so than the pedestrian crossing the street intended to be hit by a car.  Did we bring this cross upon ourselves?  Probably not.  Did God permit it?  Yes.  Why?  To draw us to Him…

Our response will determine where we stand.  Will we, like the thief who mocked Jesus on the cross, suffer our suffering in derision against Him?  Will we turn away from Him in anger?  Or will we realize our weakness and call out to Him for strength?  Like the good thief who was crucified beside Him, will we in our most desperate agony of mind, heart or body, see ourselves as we are and God there on the cross with us?

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