“The Cross is not the cross of man, but the Cross of God, and it can never be fully comprehended through human experience…It is a gate through which any and every individual can enter into oneness with God. But it is not a gate we pass through; it is one where we abide in the life that is found there.” Oswald Chambers
Like so many of us, I took the shame of my past and, once I became a Christian, turned it in the Cross that I was meant to bear throughout my life journey. There are even scriptures that, if not investigated properly, can seem to support the belief that it is God’s will for this to happen. One such is found in Matthew 16:24, where Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” It has taken me years to fully understand what “my cross” really means.
When I first became a Christian, I took refuge in knowing that I was made “a whole new creation” in Christ Jesus! I needed that, for I am a woman with a shameful past.
However, what I did not know or yet understand about Jesus was that, part of Him making me a whole new creation involved Him REDEEMING my past, not merely covering it over.
He truly does want to make “All things new”, just as He promises in Rev. 21:5. So, much to my dismay and, to be honest, terror, not long after coming to truly receive and follow Jesus at the age of 30, He began to walk me through the most challenging years of my life, as one by one, each area of sin, fear, and shame that had held me captive all my life, was marched before His truth and light and redefined and redeemed by His glory. I had NO idea that who I was, and how I operated had ALL been a sham; a labyrinth of hiding places, and a network of schemes I had cleverly been devising since a young child to protect myself from my greatest fears. And I had NO IDEA that those fears had been holding me hostage since I was a young child. After all, who are we without our shams, our cleverly devised hiding places? There were many times I would have rather given Him up than go on another minute, however, like a skilled surgeon who knows the precise move of the scalpel to separate the disease and threat of death from the living tissue, He knew where to move the scalpel to break me and heal me all at the same time. I knew that to give up on this Surgery was to give up on Life itself, and I couldn’t do it. Somewhere along this journey, I realized that there was a greater Force alive in me that compelled me forward, that would not allow me to retreat. This force was Jesus, alive and living in me, what a miracle! The words of John 1:4-5 were coming alive inside my heart and soul, conquering territory, demanding submission, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I am still allowing His healing and amazing “Light” to come, I trust His light and I no longer fear it, but welcome this scalpel of Truth. I no longer fear who I am, or who I am not. My identity is as Alive as the One who writing my story, even right now as I type these words, it no longer bothers me that I don’t know the ending.
You see, my Cross has become my story. I didn’t understand this at first. Even though I never could articulate this, I lived out, or tried to live out my Christian walk by defining how I would follow Jesus what MY cross would look like. It has taken me some years and some very humiliating circumstances to see and understand that it was never my choice to determine those things.
I simply come, and I identify with HIS CROSS, and I let Him decide.
He gets to become my source of Identity that is based in Truth and Light. My cross is the place I die to my own control over myself, and I get to entrust myself Wholly to my LORD. Without it, no divine surgery takes place, and as surely as the sun rises, I will begin to rebuild my sacred hiding places once more. Yet, as I take it up, the very Living Presence of God and Love take up residence in me, and I Become who I could never be without Him.