Bearing the Wrong Cross  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , , , , , ,

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Plate overflowing, mind over-saturated with to-do's, and more problems to solve than you had time to even consider?

I had the chance to get away for a vacation back home (Alaska) recently and then did a little road trip on the west coast. It was gorgeous. It took a few days to truly unplug - to get over the guilt of not being productive, the haunting thoughts of "what's not getting done while I'm away" and all of those other distractions. Once I got over the hill, then it was truly a time of refreshment, relaxation and recharging.

One day while I was driving I began to sift through my thoughts and began to feel overwhelmed as I tried to sort through all of the needs, opportunities, projects, situations, and "things" waiting for me back home. Family, Grace Point, the Church of San Antonio, the cause of Christ across America, my role in fixing it all or figuring it all out...Stop! Right as all of those weights were getting stacked up, God hit the pause button for me.

We stopped in the Big Sur area of the Los Padres National Forest in California and hiked to see the Pfeifer Falls shown below:


Isn't that a gorgeous picture? Literally a waterfall colliding with a perfect sandy beach in a quiet cove with a redwood forest on one side, the Pacific on the other and beautiful cliffs enclosing it. It is one of those places you don't want to leave. You want to just put a tent and lawn chair out and call it good!

God made that. The same God who created the universe, who unleashed creative power with a few words yielded scenes like this. That same God sent His Son to kick His long-running mission of redemption into high gear and is presently installing His Kingdom incarnationally through the transformed lives of those who follow His Son, via a thing we call "the Church."

That same God doesn't really need advisers, consultants, architects or assistance in figuring it out. Much of the weight I was carrying was from trying to "help God" with His mission. In that "pause" moment, God reminded me that I was overwhelmed trying to carry His burden instead of focusing on my actual calling to follow, rest, obey, serve and participate in the supernatural work He wants to do in and through me. I don't own the outcome, I own the journey of dependent surrender and unrestrained engagement.

In Acts 20 the Apostle Paul is saying farewell to a church plant he helped start in Ephesus. It was still young, had a lot of kinks and challenges but his time had come. In leaving he doesn't wring his hands over all that remains to be done, nor does he boast in having accomplished everything - he says he is simply confident in leaving because he knows he "has not shrunk back" from doing and saying the things the Lord sent him to. Because he was obedient, he had peace in trusting God with the mission of saving the world.

I know that moment with God triggered a sense of release and freshness for me. (Being around a lot of really pretty places along the coast didn't hurt!)

What are you overwhelmed with that is not truly your cross to bear? What are you claiming responsibility FOR instead of TO to your own demise?

This entry was posted at Tuesday, June 09, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 thoughts and responses

It is good to have you back. It really is. Reminds me of an old movie with the guy carrying big bags of stuff and trying to climb a cliff by the sea or something like that. It was too long ago for the man my granddaughter lovingly calls, "Old Pa".

Glad to see a fresh perspective. I can feel the freshness of the salt spray from here.

As an old guy, I find it interesting that the reality of not much time left can really create an illusion of the need to do it and do it now. Resting in the Lord requires a daily refocus on what is important.

Today, I am after answers. Maybe in your pseudo relaxed state of mind, you can surf to my blog and answer a simple question about what rules to follow.

It is asked with sincerity.

June 9, 2009 at 9:11 PM
Stephen Oliver  

Michael -

You are so right with both the beautiful picture of the water fall next to the beach representing a miracle of Father's and how he reminds us through these moments that we are to surrender fully to his will and remain hopefully dependent on him as he guides each of us.

Jesus showed us how to do this, for he truly was the first man to model complete surrender and dependence. Paul shows us well at times too. Yet, Jesus battled to the end with his cross, the one of being the living sacrifice for us all. He fulfilled his purpose and so will we.

And together, on "our" return as a glorified family, we will reign together for eternity. How wonderful is this promise...it is revealed at the end of Revelation.

In the meantime, our focus is on the cross he has given us to bear, one that glorifies Jesus, honors father and is filled with obedient works empowered by the Spirit. How cool is this. Each one "JUST AS UNIQUE" as the one Jesus was given, yet all connected to fulfill the good news and blessed hope that is to come.

See you soon, my brother.

Stephen Oliver

August 5, 2009 at 5:40 PM
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