Saturday, October 25, 2014

Take up thy cross

The town of Rio Grande lies on the cost of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The wind blows hard all year around. The cold ocean currents from the Antarctic makes sure a warm summer never comes. Despite a dreary and barren landscape of both land and sea, there was a simple beauty that drew me in. The sky was enormous because there was never anything to block my vision of it. There are no trees in that town and the buildings never got too tall.  It was new to me. The mission was new. When walking from one end of the town to the other, my companion and I often took the sandy beach. The sand seemed to always be wet and cold. Sea weed, rocks, and small shells cluttered the beach. Occasionally we found a beached sea creature such as a jelly fish or a seal.

I could see forever. I felt stuck between the vastness of the sea and sky and the smallness of each grain of sand. The sand became my reminder of what Moses experienced when he saw the inhabitants of the earth.

“And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
The thought made me uneasy. Each grain represented a person. A person with a life full of sicknesses, heartaches, pains, sadness, death, and hopefully joy. And then there was me. Another grain of sand. Perhaps I was one that was buried far beneath the surface, or was I on the bottom of a deep ocean floor. I like to think that I am a grain on the surface, at least being able to see the sun’s light. Either way, I am just one of many. What makes me so special? Does God really care about one little grain of sand in a sea of billions? Why do so many people live, suffer, and die without the knowledge of God? As a missionary of His, I felt lost and drowned in a sea of people that knew nothing of the teachings of Jesus and of his modern prophets.
While reading in Mark, I came across the story of the Greek woman who wanted Christ to heal her daughter.

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.”

Strangely enough, Christ’s lack of initial desire to help the Greek woman gave me peace of mind. He was willing to let certain people wait to receive the gospel, implying that God has a timing for certain people. To Jesus she replied, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.”  I knew then that the lord blesses those that truly seek him in one way or another.
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.”

Jesus’s ability to heal was something that I have often sought for. Shortly after returning home from my mission, I developed anxiety. Due to situations in my life and a developing anxiety disorder, I lived my life in fear. I looked for miracles and healing. I came across the Lord’s admonishing to “take up thy cross daily, and follow me.” Maybe the lord didn’t intend to heal me. What if I’m supposed to just take in the fear and sorrow and just deal with it? Was I willing to do that and follow Jesus anyway? I decided I would. As soon as I decided to take on all that pain on my own and follow Christ anyway, my fear and pain seemed to go gradually go away. I do not doubt a minute that the Lord didn't heal me in a way, but he wants me to be willing to take on the hard things of the world and still be willing to follow him to the end.


  1. Because I know what the assignment is I am able to see what your trying to do. I like the way you weave the 3 general categories of writing into one account. Because I knew the writing, I was looking through your entire post for each one of the 3. You blended the experience really well. Particularly the beginning as you are relaying your wilderness experience upon the beach.

  2. Love the smallness of the sand and the vastness of the scene comparison. It can be really easy for lines like that to feel cliche but your word choice of being stuck between gave you ethos because it felt intentional, not amateur.