Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for January 31st

The Bludgeoning of Chance

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Luke 23:26

Why is this story here? None of these stories appear in Scripture simply to entertain us; they are all there to instruct us. Can you not see, as you read through this story, that here is a picture for us, acted out in life, of the process of taking up our cross in our own experience? Here's a man who took up his cross, took up the cross of Christ, and followed him, not only figuratively but literally. It's given to us to indicate our Lord's meaning in this way, to illustrate it for us. If any man will come after me, he says, he must deny himself. This is the beginning of the Christian life. You never come to Christ without finding that this coming has done a revolutionary radical thing in your relationship to yourself. When you surrender to Jesus Christ, he becomes your Lord. He replaces yourself as your final authority. That's denying yourself.

But the Christian life is lived on that principle as well. He must deny himself and take up his cross daily. What does that mean? The answer is given to us here in Simon's experience. The fact that our Lord used the word daily suggests that these experiences are not a once-in-a-lifetime thing. This is the bludgeoning of chance that comes into our experience and makes us reverse all our plans, and we resent that. These are the interruptions which coming into our life challenge our egos, the kind that we could do nothing about except fume and fret. What he's saying is that when we accept them, taking them up daily as they come to us in the unraveling of time, they are the source of blessing and of strengthening to us — the daily experiences, small or great, a crisis of suffering, of loss, of frustration or of deep desire.

There are three things we can do when these frustrating things come into our lives. We can either break out, that is, we can rebel against them — and this covers everything from the temper tantrum to the violation of law — or we can break down. We become neurotic, and this is the from a sick headache to a nervous breakdown. Or we can break through! We can accept them as from God. This is what Jesus means. Take up the cross! Accept these unexpected invasions into your plans as from God. And when you do, as Simon did, you discover they are invariably disguises for God's blessings. A. B. Simpson wrote: This is the secret of divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end of everything in ourselves and our circumstances. When we reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of our hard situation or our bad treatment, and we will recognize that these things are the very conditions of our blessings. And we will turn from them to God, and find in them a claim upon him.

Father, may I learn this principle and cease my senseless struggle against the events I cannot control and disappointments that come.

Life Application

Are you struggling with circumstances you did not expect and do not like? Accept them as given by God and thank him for leading you where he wants you to go.

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Bludgeonings of Chance

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