Our seven year old daughter was constantly doing some craft or project. She announced one day that she needed a cross for her room. She asked me if she could make it out of wood and decorate it. “Uh huh”, I answered as I did the dishes. About a half hour later she called for my help.
“I have the wood, the nails, the saw and the hammer. Can you help me? All the stuff is on the front porch,” she said with puppy eyes.
I went out on the porch to help but was taken a back a bit when I saw two, three foot pieces of wood.
“I thought you were making a cross for your room. It’s very big.” I questioned.
“It’s just my size mom,” she pleaded seeing that perhaps I might not let her make it.
“Will you help me? I can’t get the nails into theses big boards.” she sweetly asked.
Just my size…help you with the nails…the phrases sank in.
I looked at the raw splintered planks and the rusted nails fashioned into the shape of a cross for what they really are, instruments of death. I looked at my sweet little girl and realized in a deeper way that she belongs to the “All Have Sinned Club” and like all of us, we are deserving of death for our own sin and wrong doings.
Embracing that reality is the center of our faith; it is what leads us to the saving grace of Jesus. Daily realizing, knowing, admitting that there was a cross for me with my name on it and the punishment was both just and deserving sobers my faith. When the gavel came down and the judge cried guilty, no one was shocked not even me. I too belong to the “All Have Sinned and Fall Short of the Glory of God” club.
David cries out to God in Psalm 51:2-3:
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee only have I sinned
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou speak
And blameless when Thou dost judge.
The happy seven your old, nailed her three foot cross together and painted it yellow with white stripes and some unrecognizable colored shapes. She asked if it could be placed in our home where all can see it.
However, Jesus’ cross was nailed together by angry men. He willingly opened His arms wide and laid His body on the splintered planks. He willingly unfolded His hands for the rusty nails to be driven into His hands. And He decorated His cross with His own precious blood.
You see, my little girl won’t be hanging on that cross, because the pure one, the Lamb of God, Jesus stepped in for her and took her place. He rescued her when she realized her sin and guilt. She knew she needed a Savior. She believed in the holy work of Jesus, giving His life for hers.
For the next couple of months, you could see our daughter proudly carrying her yellow decorated cross around our acreage. Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when He said in Mark 8:34, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” I smiled at the analogy.
I pictured myself with my own five foot seven cross decorated with stenciled flowers, a cross just my size, perched on my shoulders as I chit chatted with a friend at the supermarket.
“Oh this cross…yea it’s mine…I was suppose to be put to death…I know I deserved it. You like the decoration? Me too. I am so overwhelmingly grateful that Jesus took my place on the cross that I couldn’t help but decorate the cross that I was supposed to die on. Yeah, I am not kidding, He took my place…I know…that’s a love I can’t seem to wrap my brain around.
Again, I pictured myself with my children as I crouch down to their level to correct a behavior. The weight of the cross that Jesus asked me to carry presses in and rubs my shoulder reminding me to deal with the little offender with love and grace. Or standing up and moving my cross from one shoulder to another as my husband confesses a mistake he has made.
How can I not respond with forgiveness
when my decorated cross rests on my shoulder?
How great a gift we have been given! A cross that was just my size, meant for my eternal death has been given to me by the one who has taken my place on His cross.
Everyday carry it!
Everyday celebrate it!
Everyday share it!
And maybe, just maybe you too will choose to even decorate it!!
From Our House to Yours,
What does “take up your cross” mean in your life?
Leave a comment of encouragement!