My inner life these last four years has been quite the struggle. The challenge of leadership, tainted by the political strife that has gripped our nation and divided our communities is perhaps more than even the best of men can bear, let alone the novice.
Little did I know when I prayed in 1978 for God to use me in reaching, loving cities, that I would one day be a mayor; let alone, seriously consider becoming a politician? Perhaps this posting is evidence of my recovery process.
On March 25, 2012 my post was entitled, “Embrace the Cross,” a term still at work in my soul, but now perhaps with a more mature understanding of what the Lord was after. This morning as I dug that post out of my archives, I read of simply bearing the cross; there perhaps was the root of my misunderstanding?
Taught most of my life that “taking up the cross” was the role of all Christ followers; in essence, bearing the weight of servant leadership, and the occasional blow of counter-cultural testimony, so real of late in this pluralistic America. I now trust that I have “embraced” a much more comprehensive understanding.
Embracing the cross has its personal burden, but the benefit is perhaps more to the bearer, and though some crown in heaven is purported, the crucible effect of surfacing our own flaws is the true pearl. Whether error in our beliefs, blind spots in our behaviors or just exhausting our human endurance, the “cross” is the best revealer of who we really are.
The Good News is who Jesus really is! He bore our cross, nailing our sins, our weaknesses to the tree. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, perhaps the hidden message still waiting to be revealed in 2012. I am not good enough! I would fall short of the vision I held for my personal leadership, perhaps victim to my ego, setting standards far above my preparation and wisdom, awaiting the harsh revelation of just how short of the mark my best attempts might be.
It was only at that point, perhaps now, that I might really embrace, truly grasp the meaning of the Spirit’s words. That being, to get my “head around” what He had done for me and what that would mean to me in my “dark night of the soul,” when my own flesh would demand a guilty verdict for the failures against my Lord and His calling. How could I bear the punishment that my failures demand, missed Kingdom moments where my comfort, my greed, my selfish soul ruled the day?
The cross, the place where my substitute, my intercessor fully bore the pain and guilt of the failures He knew would be mine, even before I was called and perhaps well before I was even born. Fully embracing that reality, a new revelation of the Cross for me is Good News, and an assurance that all things, all my blunders, He will still work for the good; a sure promise to those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose.
This should bring great respite to we who are aging and afford great hope to those newly called to exhaust themselves in future days. For all of us there will come a time when our efforts are not good enough. It is then they that we better understand The Cross and The Christ.
“But where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” Romans 5:20b.