Cross figuratively speaking: a thing that is unavoidable and has to be endured.
Last night was a rough one and my cross reared its ugly head. I’ve said now, for quite some time, that my anxiety is my little hell here on earth. It is the biggest cross that I’ve had to carry. I don’t battle with it as often as I did in the past nor does it paralyze me now as it did, but when it comes, it comes with a vengeance. Last night when it came, the littlest things like breathing became a battle. I prayed, but in frustration soon gave up, knowing that the night ahead was going to be a long and hard one. I finally
passed out and woke up this morning groggy wanting to sleep the day away.
After breakfast Erika and I prayed Christian Prayer and I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me. “As they go through the Bitter Valley they make it a place of springs, the autumn rain covers it with blessings.” Psalm 84:7 After Morning Prayer I spent some time thinking about the above verse. I felt like the Lord was saying to me, although you feel like you are suffering right now, I will rain down blessings amongst your suffering. I felt Him say to me that it is my chance to be united with Christ in a very small way.
Everything I read after Morning Prayer spoke to me. I read from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.” The whole idea of peace, having peace, and enjoying much peace started the wheels in my brain turning. I started thinking of peace in my life and what I expect it to be like. I have this vision of peace being my whole body, well mostly my physical body, being completely calm. The actual definition of peace is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Last night and with every anxiety attack I’ve had, I often prayed for peace, and felt that the Lord didn’t answer my prayer because my physical body wasn’t experiencing the peace I desired. After last night, I realized that I am able to always have peace, and that is peace in my soul that cannot be disturbed or taken away by anxiety. I can rest in knowing that my soul is at peace because the Lord is right along side with me riding out the storm. After all, it is such a small storm in hindsight.
Of course I woke up this morning wanting to have a pity party. I wanted to keep an attitude of, “Poor me, my life is tough. I have this huge cross that I like to call my little hell on earth because it is such a big burden to bear,” but I was awakened to reality. A dear friend of mine, Lucy, came to the door. As she sat down, she told me she didn’t sleep much last night either. She began talking about why she came and what it boiled down to was she didn’t have food for herself and her family. As she continued to talk, she began to cry and through her tears praised God because even though she didn’t have food for herself and her family, she has legs and can walk. She looked for the blessings in her life and didn’t wallow in the ways she and her family are suffering. I was able to give her a little food, but I think she helped me more than I helped her. She helped me to get my perspective back. Even though I suffer sometimes, I am united in Christ as well as with all those who suffer in some way. I realized that what I thought was a big burden is actually microscopic.
The last thing I would like to leave you with is something else I read this morning. “If we strove to stand firm in the struggles like men of valor we should not fail to experience the help of our Lord from heaven. For He is ever ready to help all who fight, trusting in His grace; He also affords us occasions to fight that we may conquer.” Imitation of Christ. Stand firm in your struggles and cry out to the Lord in faith, knowing that He is an all-loving Father who hears your pleas and will rescue you. Fight so that you may conquer!