I will never, ever, ever, ever stop singing about the Cross.
And let me tell you why.
The Cross was the one act in history that made a sinner like me holy. When Jesus willingly died to pay for my sins and all my failures, rebellion, and just plain lack, the veil between me and my Creator was torn in two. When He laid down His natural born rights of Son for that short time, I was given a robe of righteousness, a seat at the table, a friendship with God. It’s like we swapped places. And why? Because He loved us and wanted to invite us in the family. He called out to the beggars on the street, the ones who had nothing to offer back to Him, which quite frankly is you and me. Jesus obeyed His Father even unto death on a Cross so that His Sonship could exponentially grow, being granted by grace to anyone who would take it.
Sometimes we wake up from a wonderful dream, like a dream where all kinds of problems were solved…but we wake up to reality and realize the turmoil hasn’t been resolved at all.
With the Cross though, the story is true. Our debts really are paid. Our prayers really are heard. Our Father really does see us as sons and daughters. Our Brother really did give His life for us. Eternity in Heaven really does await. The Spirit really does comfort, teach, and remain in us for every minute of every day that we will recognize His presence. The goodness is real. Our minds and bodies and emotions have trouble reveling in it, it seems, but that doesn’t remove the reality that the goodness of the Cross is real.
I need the Cross, friends. I am a mess! There have been times in my walk with God where I didn’t think of myself as a mess much; I thought of myself as quite a good little worker bee for Jesus. I knew I was saved by grace and not works, but being the independent, ambitious person I am, my focus was more on myself and what I was doing for the Kingdom than on the Cross and my extreme gratefulness for it. (So sorry to whoever was around me those days!)
But by His grace, He relieved me of my pride and confusion.
I’ll never forget the day–Selah was about six weeks old–I was an exhausted, burnt-crispy minister mess. I remember saying to God, “You know what? I have been serving You so much, and it feels like I am never going to get where You want me to be and do all I think I’m supposed to do. I give up!!” I had planned to be a full time missionary and that had fallen through. I was serving in various ways at church, but having a newborn baby and a chronic illness that very few people seemed to understand (or have compassion about) was making me literally unable to do anything for anyone outside my home. I felt like a complete failure for the Lord. I hadn’t even considered giving up being who I thought He wanted me to be for Him…but when the thought crossed my mind, it sounded so good. To finally not expect the impossible out of myself! I’ll never forget that moment.
This is going to sound funny and weird, but I actually said to Him, “I give up trying to be on Your special team of people You call to do Your work. I don’t know what that means for my future and all I thought You said we were going to do, but I give up trying. I trust that You have forgiven my sins and love me, and that’s all I’m going to worry about right now. I’m letting go of all that other stuff.”
I feel like God breathed a sigh of relief, because I finally got it. I didn’t know as I prayed that prayer that I was “getting it”, not at all actually. I was heartbroken. I was saying goodbye to an entire way of life, really the only way I knew to be. But I was saying hello, automatically, to being Mary weeping at her Lord’s feet, just saying thank you for taking someone so unhelpful and so unworthy. When we become ruins, it really is a gift. I am convinced that being a Christian is mainly about receiving. Any giving is because we first received anyway.
As my kids are older and I feel better most of the time, the Lord has allowed me to “minister” again, but it doesn’t mean to me what it used to and it is powered by thankfulness for the Cross. I live in ruins, I live in knowing I can’t do it, I live in giving up trying to be something awesome– and I pray that transparency and weakness simply gives Christ room to shine through.
The Cross. It’s always there, when everything else falls apart and when we don’t know anything else for sure. We can always come back to the Cross.