“Come die with me…”
Those words might sound a bit scary, but a dear friend, Kate, heard this in her heart years ago. She and her husband were moving their family to a new location and she was reluctant. But, she knew those words were a whisper from God, gently calling her to accept this new chapter in life.
Come die with me. What exactly was God asking? In retrospect, Kate now saw what she couldn’t see at that time. Although this chapter brought with it great hardships and heavy crosses, it nevertheless resulted in great personal and spiritual growth.
Her story has always caused me to reflect on how I accept my own crosses. Christ invites me, but how do I accept his invitation? Oftentimes, it’s with reluctance just as Simon of Cyrene accepted his role in helping Jesus carry his cross to Calvary. But no matter the situation, the lesson of carrying the cross is always the same, isn’t it? Suffering teaches us how to die to our own selfishness and carry our cross with love.
Dying with Him Through Divorce
Looking back on my divorce and the years that followed that horrible event, I remember feeling utterly shocked and outraged. My marriage was dead. My hopes and dreams for the future were dead. My spouse’s love for me – if it was ever really there – was dead. I angrily shook my fist at God and cried, “How could you allow this to happen?”
At that point, I couldn’t hear those same tender words God beckoned me with, that gentle call to die with him. But, in time, my heart would soften and I would accept that call. As I reflect upon those post-divorce years, I am permeated with gratitude for that change. That heavy cross I carried has brought me so much closer to God, and made me a better, stronger person.
Through the suffering of my divorce, I learned to die to myself in different ways. First, through accepting the truth of my situation. Then, through finding forgiveness for all those who had betrayed me. Learning to pray for my ex-spouse instead of cursing him brought great healing. Taking these steps opened my heart and find love instead of hatred and bitterness.
Divorce is a horrible experience and a real sort of death. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. If you’ve been through a divorce, you understand what I’m talking about. But I pray that through this devastating event, you will experience the positive changes this sort of death will bring. There will be a resurrection, there will be new life. The best way to let this happen is in embracing your cross instead of cursing it.
A Meaningful Resolution For The New Year
I believe any time is a good time to make resolutions. Birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s are great, or just when you know you need to change. But since we are at the brink of a brand new year, why not start now?
Your story might be different from mine, and your suffering different as well. But as we ring in the start of 2017, why not say “yes” to letting go of anger, bitterness, and self-pity? Why not make a meaningful decision to embrace hope, whatever the future brings? You may have just reasons to be angry and taking these steps may seem difficult. But, the spiritual growth you’ll experience is unprecedented. You won’t be sorry you for taking this leap of faith.
So, the cash value of these thoughts I share is simply that Christ calls each of us, through the crosses we carry, to die with him. To die to ourselves, our resentments, our desires, and to experience the true meaning of suffering… that we become better, stronger, wiser, and more loving.
As we cross the threshold of 2017, wipe the slate clean, and start anew, I invite you to consider Christ’s gentle call… Come die with me.
If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart. – Hebrews 3:7-8