Luke 9:22-25 Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
I don’t know about you, but lately my cross has been darn heavy. Lent definitely came in with a bang for me. After TJ suffered a break to his wrist on Monday, surgery on Tuesday, then Katie came down with a stomach bug on Wednesday which caused her to go into seizures. I woke up this morning with little sleep, no patience, and absolutely no energy. The first thought that came to my mind as I snapped at my kids was, “I am not perfect.” That was an understatement today. My cross was heavy and I needed someone like Simon to help me carry my cross (even if just for a moment). Remember in Mark 15:21 it says, “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Simon I am sure was a little reluctant to help this so called “King of the Jews.” I am sure he just did as he was told. In those moments can you imagine picking up and carrying a huge wooden beam that obviously this man called Jesus could no longer carry. Jesus had been beaten and tortured at this point. He was exhausted and had no more energy to carry this cross. Can you imagine looking into Jesus’ eyes and seeing nothing but a need for help? How could you feel anything but pity for Him?
Now today I probably am pitiful. I am in the same clothes as yesterday. I have done nothing but clean up after my very sick young child. I have tended to seizures. I have served drink after drink. I have talked with doctors about how to keep medicine in my daughter. I have used every bit of my mental energy over the past 24 hours. I have nothing left in me. So God has sent me a few Simons to help out. He sent me my sisters who ran errands, took kids to school, picked up kids at school and just gave me adult companionship. Your Simons may not look like my sisters. They may be unsuspecting people that are just pulled into carrying your cross. Regardless, they will change your life and you will change their life. I am sure Simon told that story over and over at gatherings. I am sure that Jesus never forgot Simon.
God gives us these “helpers” when we are in need, when we have bottomed out, and when we have exhausted all of our own resources. I need God’s helpers all the time. When I reach my bottom out point, I realize this. When things are going well, I don’t realize how much I do rely on God, but yesterday I had a “lightning bolt” reminder of just how much I need Him. Remember the reflection on Ash Wednesday (yesterday)? I said my day of fasting was to remind me just how much I need God. That is for sure! It wasn’t a coincidence that during this day of fast, that God reminded me how much I rely on Him.
Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Thank goodness he sent me a few helpers when my cross became way too heavy. Don’t miss out for the Simon of Cyrene’s in your life. They may not be people who necessarily are excited to help out, but God sends them anyway. God sends all kinds of people to help us carry our crosses. Don’t miss out on the chance to see a glimpse of God through someone else. Remember, you may be changing that person’s life along your journey, and they absolutely will change yours.