Sunday, April 15, 2012

What Does Your Cross Look Like?

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:34-36

Many think when suffering comes along that God isn't paying attention, that He doesn't hear their cries for healing. Did you know He was the beginning of Job's problems? He said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant, Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job 1:8. Satan was sure Job would fall away from God if he had to suffer. Not so! God allowed Job to lose seven sons, three daughters, his health and wealth, but Job remained faithful.

God also allowed Naomi to suffer. She and her family left Bethlehem during a famine and found a living in Moab. Her sons married Moabite wives and all seemed well for a while, yet not for long. Naomi's husband and two sons died, but she kept her faith in God.

God's perfect plan for us meant His own Son would suffer persecution, crucifixion and death. Thanks be to God, that is not the end of the story. Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the grave, rolled away the stone and lived among His people for forty days before He ascended into Heaven. More than five hundred people witnessed seeing and hearing Him. He is now preparing a place for us to be with Him forever. A place for Job and Naomi too. However, even when they were on earth, God more than restored them from their losses. Job had ten more children, good health and more wealth than he could imagine. Naomi became a grandmother and God took care of her the rest of her life on earth.

Think About It
What does your cross look like? Is your family going through a tough time with bad health or financial stress? Whatever problems you may have, Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20 that He would always be with us. Because He suffered much, we can trust Him to be with us in our in our suffering. By remaining faithful as Job and Naomi did, God will build strong character in us too.

Pray About It
Lord Jesus, whatever problems we face, help us stand firm and trust You. Thank you that in our weakness you work your strength and give us hope.