By Rhonda Zweber
Before my diagnosis of cancer, I never thought of the concept of “carrying a cross” by anyone except Jesus. It even took me a couple of years after my diagnosis to understand that I was carrying my own cross of cancer. Now, in my daily conversation with others, I refer often to the crosses in our lives. It’s a constant thought that I carry with me always, and I try to share it with anyone, especially those who I know are carrying a cross of their own.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that we cannot be His disciple unless we pick up our cross (Luke 14:25-33). It may sound like He is asking a lot from us, but if we are able to see our cross in the light of God and His plan for us, it may make it easier for us to accept our cross and carry it with joy.
Crosses look differently for everyone. It may be a small cross that we need to carry for a short time, or it may be a very heavy cross that we have to endure until our death. I remember when my daughter got braces, her mouth hurt so much that she couldn’t eat. That was her cross for those few days. I was able to explain her cross to her, and it also gave me the opportunity to talk to her about offering up her suffering.
Sometimes, it may be tough to identify your cross. If you are suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually, you have a cross lying before you. You do not have to carry your cross all by yourself, though. In fact, Jesus wants to help you carry it. Bring your suffering to Him!
People often comment to me that my cross must be so heavy or such a burden, suggesting that it has been difficult for me to carry my cross. I always try to convince them that I have truly accepted God’s will for me, and if that means I need to carry this cross of cancer until I am called home to Heaven, I will do it. Believe me, though, I still have my days of being tested and not really wanting to carry my cross. But my faith has given me such peace with my ongoing issue with metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer cells that move to other parts of the body), and I find joy in the opportunities that cancer has given me. These are all gifts from the Father.
So, today, try to see the cross that you are carrying in the light of God’s special plan for you. Try to find the goodness in it, knowing that each time you pick up your cross, you are growing closer to Jesus and are walking that same path to Heaven.
About the Author:
Rhonda Zweber and her husband of 23 years have three beautiful daughters. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Rhonda’s faith began to grow and she co-founded the Pink Prayer Warriors cancer ministry at her parish, St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake, MN, to support and pray for others who are going through their cancer journey. Each time her cancer returned, Rhonda’s faith and trust in God’s plan grew stronger and that gave her motivation to share her journey with others. She is currently working on her second book, which documents her faith journey through cancer, to encourage readers to seek the love of Jesus along the way. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, is her cancer story through the eyes of her youngest daughter. Rhonda has created her own blog, Relax In His Love, and you can also reach her via email at relaxinHislove@gmail.com.