Middle Minutes Adoration

I memorized Matthew 16:24-25 (“let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”) when I was 19 and, then, I thought that “cross” would mean great exploits for God (that *looked* like sacrifice but could be positioned as celebrations of me and my effort … ones we’d post on Instagram today)…

But it seems that cross has, instead for me, meant the end of holy dreams and even godly desires … the end of really, really good things. I didn’t know that cross would feel like death on my shoulders, and shards of bark in my back, and head-thumping grief.

I suspect this is many of you, too. I look around me and see that my neighbor, my best friend, and the women and men who stand with me on the soccer sidelines are all beginning to walk a similar Via Dolorosa.

For some, it is a profound and inexplicable loss, and for others, it is dozens or more of “little” losses and dream-deaths that amount to the marching reminder that every follower of God is invited to carry a cross.

So on this “Good Friday,” where the clouds have broken a bit since we first experienced the loss of which I write, I have the gift of perspective that comes after a long season of grief:

God shared His cross with me. And I’m realizing … that is *good*.

I know in my bones that the parts of my life I’ve lost (that I actually didn’t deny, but that God, in His mercy, denied for me) have been unto a more significant *finding*. Finding … Him and the best of life in Him.

Today, on this dark Good Friday, I see the sun streaks through the clouds. I see more of His life available to me than I ever knew I could when my eyes were bloodshot and tired from the unrelenting stare at what I thought I might lose, because I didn’t realize that if I lost what I never wanted to lose, He would hold me …

and I would be okay.

[Read a bit more of my thoughts on this in my newsletter, just out today, by visiting the link in my profile.]

(cross pictured from @the_keeping_company)