Beyond My Control
Simon of Cyrene was just an ordinary guy, going about his ordinary business when he was grabbed by a couple of soldiers. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was then pulled into a moving throng of people—soldiers, convicts, and rabble-rousers—and he was forced to carry all or part of a heavy wooden cross to a hill just outside the city. In his A Rumor of Hope, Ray Stedman talks about Simon’s attitude in that moment. He says,
Simon was likely angered over being forced to shoulder this burden. I think we can identify, because we can recall many times when we have felt this way whenever we have felt that God was calling us to shoulder a cross. We resent it when circumstances create a burden in our lives or bring pain and suffering to our souls. This, I believe must have been what Simon of Cyrene felt as he was forced to bear the cross of Jesus.
What are you facing today that is beyond your control? Are you being persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ? Are you facing a major health crisis? Are you suffering loss because of natural disaster? Struggles at home? Struggles in your job? Struggles at your church? ___? Fill in the blank, because we all feel out of control of our lives at times.
I’ve got to admit that some of my least favorite Bible verses are the ones that promise troubles and trials in this life. Seriously? Check these out:
Job 23:10 – He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Psalm 17:3 – You have tested me and found no evil;…
Psalm 66:10 – For you, O God, have tested us; You have refined us like silver.
1 Corinthians 3:13 – his workmanship… will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work
James 1:3 – you know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
1 Peter 1:6-7 – In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
But did you notice that in each case the promised trial was designed to make us better—not bitter? Instead of focusing on the things that are currently testing you, try focusing on what we have to look forward to. Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17-18).
If anyone should know about the value of changing focus, Paul definitely would!