“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Several times a year Mike, a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), approaches a jungle airstrip in Ecuador. He circles the field and looks down to see a young man carrying his father on his back. Close behind, someone else is pushing an empty wheelchair.
The man being carried on his son’s back is Humberto. A tree fell on him years ago and paralyzed his legs. Now he must push himself in a wheelchair through the snaking paths of the jungle. If the trail gets too rough, his son carries him on his back.
Humberto never complains. Somehow I don’t think his son does, either. Humberto has a mission. He’s helping to translate the Old Testament into his native language so his people can read God’s Word. This means that every few months Mike flies Humberto to the village of Makuma, forty-two miles away, where MAF has a base of operations. There Humberto sits next to a missionary, and together they painstakingly feed Humberto’s revisions into a computer.
Some would think, Humberto is carrying too heavy a cross. His is a noble, divine mission—shouldn’t God then lighten the load? Humberto would say no. As a writer put it, “The cross God sends is a cross that He understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for the person to whom He has given it.”
Second Thessalonians 1:5 was written for people like Humberto: “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.”
What about your cross? In what ways has it contributed to those around you? How has God used it to advance His kingdom through you?
God, as I make my way through today, bring to my mind the weighty cross you bore for me. It will make mine lighter.